USDA Subsidizes Dead Farmers

A recent government audit has revealed that the US Department of Agriculture is sending millions of dollars of aid and subsidies to farmers who have been dead for more than a year. This explosive revelation could seriously derail current discussions of farm subsidies in the 2013 Farm Bill.
For the past few years, farm subsidies have become an increasingly controversial part of federal farm bills. In the wake of the 2008 financial crash, many voters found it harder and harder to justify giving farmers direct payment subsidies, particularly in light of several major agricultural boom years.
While rural politicians have largely agreed to end direct payments, the recent audit casts some doubts on the effectiveness of other federal subsidies. According to investigators at the Government Accountability Office, several USDA agencies have given tens of millions of dollars to long-dead farmers. The Natural Resources Conservation Services and the Risk Management Agency, which respectively administer conservation funds and crop insurance payments, have collectively given out more than $30 million to dead farmers over the past several years.
According to the report, the USDA needs more control mechanisms to verify that farm payments are going to the right people. The report, however, will likely be used as ammunition for fiscal conservatives looking to seriously cut back on federal farm subsidies.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer