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Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

GAO Reports on Illegal Farm Bill Payments

USAgNet - 12/01/2008

A recent Government Accountability Office report on illegal farm payments got national attention last week when cited by President-elect Barack Obama as an example of inappropriate spending by the federal government.

The GAO report concluded that USDA had paid $49 million to 2,702 individuals who had adjust gross incomes that would likely make them ineligible for farm program payments under the 2002 Farm Bill, from a total of $16 billion in annual payments to about two million individuals and entities. The report said USDA "does not have management controls... to verify that payments are made only to individuals who do not exceed income eligibility caps"; for instance, USDA cannot obtain and use Internal Revenue Service data to confirm income.

Obama used this example of what he called 'waste' when talking at a Tuesday press conference about his desire for 'smarter government' and to review the 'federal budget - page by page, line by line - eliminating those programs we don't need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way."

Agricultural groups say the will work to maintain a strong federal safety net that allows farmers to continue to produce the safest, most affordable and most abundant food supply in the world for Americans and those who rely on our exports.

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