Latest USDA Grants Drive Agricultural Consolidation with Taxpayer Funds

Yesterday, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced the rollout of $207 million in funding through programs described as advancing renewable energy and domestic fertilizer. But USDA is directing at least a quarter of these taxpayer funds to process waste for the largest industrial agriculture operations.

One project alone gives $32,286,899 to BioGas Corp in North Carolina. According to the company’s website, it processes waste from “swine manure from hog farming operations in NC, and pork packaging waste from Smithfield Foods.” Smithfield Foods is a Chinese corporation that owns one in every four hogs in the United States. It has saturated the North Carolina farming landscape, forcing independent hog farms out of business and polluting the air and water of surrounding communities.

“USDA claims these are renewable energy investments, but they are nothing but another scheme to funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to the largest, corporate controlled operations while America’s farmers get the crumbs,” said Farm Action president Angela Huffman. “These latest government handouts will only further consolidate the agricultural industry.”

In total, more than $50 million in new USDA program funding will be invested in biogas operations to acquire and install methane digesters to process hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid manure from lagoons on large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

Media Contact: Dee Laninga,, 202-450-0094