Watchdog: Follow the Money

Watchdog: USDA gives $11 million to dead farmers

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News,Watchdog,Agriculture,Kelly Cohen,Follow the Money

If you're a deceased farmer, you may be in luck.

Between 2008 and 2012, the Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency gave away almost $11 million to about 1,100 farmers who had been dead for a year or more.

In June 2013, the Government Accountability Office revealed the USDA was unable to determine how much of the $10.6 million in payments, intended to support farm incomes and provide disaster assistance, were actually improper because of a failure to review them before they went out.

Concerns about how the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency provide the payments have been raised before. A July 2007 GAO report found that between 1999 and 2005, FSA gave $1.1 billion to more than 172,000 deceased farmers. GAO's long-recommended reforms have yet to be implemented in the three agencies.

The GAO has more recently recommended that the secretary of agriculture proceed with executive action, including strengthening oversight and improving data mining. USDA agreed with all findings and recommendations of the report.

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