Breitbart News is reporting that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is secretly buying Monsanto’s stocks through a new program to buy up stock from companies it once controlled.
The report comes just weeks after USDA Secretary Johnnie Carson announced that the department would be expanding the use of the “Buy America” program to “invest in our companies” that Monsanto had been acquiring for years.
Carson’s announcement was met with immediate outrage by Monsanto’s critics, who said that Carson’s actions would violate the agency’s antitrust law and would make the country less competitive.
However, Carson’s announcement has caused an uproar among the American farming community and farmers, who say that it would make it much easier for the USDA to continue buying Monsanto stocks.
“This is an unprecedented action by the Trump administration that threatens the future of American farmers and the future health of our nation,” said Gene Sperling, the president of the National Association of Realtors.
“I will not stand for it.”
Monsanto’s stock in the USDA is worth around $1.6 billion.
Monsanto has long had ties to the USDA, as the company was one of the companies that donated to President Trump’s inaugural committee.
But in recent years, the company’s stock has fallen dramatically, and this past year saw Monsanto lose over $600 million in market value.
In addition to buying Monsanto stock, the USDA also has a program that allows the department to purchase Monsanto stock from a number of other companies that it once owned, and in some cases, had previously bought Monsanto stock.
In September, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow the USDA’s Bureau of Land Management to acquire up to $1 billion worth of Monsanto stock annually, according to Politico.
The bill passed the House on June 13 and is currently awaiting a Senate vote.
The bill would allow for the transfer of up to 3% of the net worth of any company to the agency, and up to 5% of any stock to the bureau.
This could theoretically be used to purchase up to 10% of a company’s total stock holdings.
Under the USDA buy-and-hold program, the department has also been purchasing Monsanto stock through a program called the “Monsontown Program.”
The buy-it-now program has allowed the department buy up to 80% of Monsanto’s stock holdings through a $250,000 investment.
The buy-the-cash program has also allowed the USDA purchase up 25% of stock holdings from Monsanto.
The department also has been buying Monsanto shares through the Buy America program, which has also given the department the ability to buy a large amount of stock from other companies, according the report from Bloomberg.
While these programs may sound like a good idea to farmers, critics say that they would make farming much more expensive.
“The current buy-now programs would provide Monsanto with a windfall of $1 trillion in annual revenues,” said Matt Dennison, an agricultural economist with the Cato Institute.
“Farmers would see their cash income drop by over $1,500 per year.”
While the USDA program is intended to give farmers an edge in the stock market, critics argue that it could be exploited by the USDA for its own purposes.
“Buy America programs should not be used by the federal government to subsidize corporate profits,” said David Broockman, a senior fellow at the Center for Food Safety.
“The USDA could use these buy-alike programs to buy large quantities of Monsanto shares, and then sell them to the government at a lower price than if they had been bought at the market price.
The program would essentially give Monsanto an unfair advantage over other farmers, including small farmers.”
Mannons shares fell nearly 4% to $38.74 on Wednesday, before recovering slightly to close at $38 on Thursday.