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Sen. Grassley Aims to Tighten Farm Payment Loopholes
USAgNet - 10/10/2013

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa released a Government Accountability Office report which he claims shows that additional changes are needed to the eligibility requirements for being "actively involved" in farming. The GAO also wrote in the report that the legislative language in the Senate passed farm bill would be an appropriate fix to the agency's findings.

"The report shows that there is still far too much subterfuge of the actively engaged law. For instance, taxpayers are footing the bill for farm payments to 11 active managers of one farm, who supposedly provide significant management experience, yet perform no labor," Grassley said. "The loophole has been allowed to stand for too long. It's time to close it once and for all and put the issue to rest so we can maintain a safety net for the farmers who really need it."

Grassley said that the conferees to the farm bill should take notice of the report and take a hands off approach to the provisions in both the House and Senate bills

The report reviewed the Farm Service Agency's compliance reviews of farming operation members' claimed contributions of active personal management and personal labor. The GAO report also examines the Farm Service Agency's state offices' timeliness in completing and reporting compliance reviews and the results.

Specifically, GAO recommended, "Congress should consider modifying the definition of significant contributions of management activities, either as it did in recent deliberations on reauthorizing the farm bill or in other ways designed to make contributions more clear and objective."

The legislative language in the farm bill mirrors Grassley's Farm Program Integrity Act of 2013. The bill would define clearly the scope of people who are able to qualify as actively engaged by only providing management for the farming operation.

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