The US Government Gave $1.1 Billion To Dead Farmers

Posted by Pile (8772 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]


First they paid farmers to farm.

Then they paid farmers not to farm.

Then they took another step by paying non-farmers not to farm.

And just when you thought they´d run out of ideas, here comes the logical conclusion: Agricultural subsidies for the dead.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture distributed $1.1 billion over seven years to the estates or companies of deceased farmers and routinely failed to conduct reviews required to ensure that the payments were properly made, according to a government report.

In a selection of 181 cases from 1999 to 2005, the Government Accountability Office found that officials approved payments without any review 40 percent of the time.

The report cited a 1,900-acre soybean and corn farm in Illinois that collected $400,000 on behalf of an owner who lived in Florida before his death in 1995. The company did not notify the government of the death but certified each year that the dead shareholder, who owned 40 percent of the company, was "actively engaged" in managing the farm.

Most estates are allowed to collect farm payments for up to two years after an owner's death, giving heirs time to restructure their businesses and probate the will. After that, local USDA officials must certify every year that the estate is still farming and has remained open for reasons other than simply collecting subsidies.

But the GAO report found that the Agriculture Department depends on heirs and businesses to alert the agency to deaths and does not use other sources, such as Social Security records, to confirm eligibility. The report was prepared at the request of Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), a frequent critic of large subsidies to wealthy farms. It is expected to be publicly released Tuesday at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

"Farm payments are meant for those who need some help getting through the tough times," Grassley said last week. "Clearly there are loopholes that should be closed and laws that need to be followed."

Details

 

 

Comments

 
Name: (change name for anonymous posting)
Title:
Comments:
   

1 Article displayed.

Pursuant to Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code (47 USC § 230), BSAlert is a user-contributed editorial web site and does not endorse any specific content, but merely acts as a "sounding board" for the online community. Any and all quoted material is referenced pursuant to "Fair Use" (17 U.S.C. § 107). Like any information resource, use your own judgement and seek out the facts and research and make informed choices.

Powered by Percleus (c) 2005-2047 - Content Management System

[Percleus 0.9.5] (c) 2005, PCS