The USDA said states already have enough flexibility to waive the new rule in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Many said the joke was tone-deaf, given the migrant children detained at the U.S. southern border.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says reducing food subsidies will "restore the dignity of work" for recipients.
A new Democratic Senate report says President Trump’s bailout for farmers suffering due to the Chinese trade war disproportionately benefits southern states and big agribusinesses, even though smaller farms in the Midwest and Northern Plains are hurting the most.
Some American farmers are not ready to vote for President Donald Trump in 2020 even after he said he was settling his trade war with China,
"Make no mistake about it, Trump's administration is no friend to America's dairyland," Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said of the U.S. agriculture secretary.
The government shutdown earlier this year probably would have been worse otherwise.
Farmers were unsettled after Trump official Sonny Perdue mocked them as “whiners” amid trade war bankruptcies.
Minnesota Farmers Union president calls the agriculture secretary's dig "very insensitive. It took everyone by surprise."
"Trump is ruining our markets," said a North Dakota farmer. Another criticized the president's "constant escalation and antagonism."