September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
MILC payments began April 1
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Treasury combine forces to combat payment fraud
In response to the discovery of nearly $50 million in payments to ineligible farmers, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have begun efforts to ensure that high-income individuals and entities who request USDA payments meet income limits set forth in the 2008 Farm Bill.
Said Vilsack: "One of the goals of this administration is to make certain that USDA payments are not issued to individuals and entities that exceed income eligibility limits established by law. Once this verification system is fully operational, high-income individuals and entities will be identified by USDA before farm program payments are actually disbursed to them."
Said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: "This cooperation between the Treasury Department and USDA will implement reforms from the 2008 Farm Bill to ensure payments go only to those who need them and are supposed to receive them. The goal is to limit excessive payments while providing for fairness to family farmers."
Beginning with the 2009 crop year and for successive years, in order to be eligible for USDA payments all recipients will be required to sign a separate form which grants IRS the authority to provide income information to USDA for verification purposes. Before the IRS will provide the information for a particular producer, IRS form 8821, or a similar form, must be obtained from each producer authorizing the release of information. Failure to obtain such a form will make the producer ineligible for program benefits. A written release from each producer or payment recipient will be required for this process. The Farm Service Agency will not receive actual tax data for the producers. All disclosure and Privacy Act provisions will be adhered to by the Farm Service Agency. In October 2008, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report stating that because the USDA does not have the management controls - such as reviewing tax returns - it could not ensure that payments are made only to qualified individuals. The GAO report also found that of the 1.8 million individuals receiving farm payments over a three year period (2003 through 2006), more than 2,500 had an average adjusted gross income (AGI) that made them ineligible for farm payments. Because of the inability of USDA to verify income, more than $49 million was paid to ineligible individuals.
The 2008 Farm Bill mandates that recipients of many Farm Bill payments, including direct payments, are not eligible for these payments if their gross nonfarm income average for the previous three taxable years is greater than $500,000. Additionally, direct payments cannot be paid to participants whose average adjusted gross farm income for the three-year period exceeds $750,000. Participants are ineligible for conservation payments if their nonfarm average gross income for the three-year period exceeds $1 million, unless at least two-thirds of their total average adjusted gross income is derived from farming.
Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment (DCP) sign-up underway
Sign-up has started for the 2009 DCP for farms with base acres. You can sign-up online or at local USDA Service Centers. This deadline has been extended to August 14, 2009. This deadline is mandatory for all participants. FSA will not accept any late-filed applications.
FSA computes DCP Program payments using base acres and payment yields established for each farm. You may request to receive advance direct payments at sign-up based on 22 percent of the direct payment for each commodity associated with the farm. Counter-cyclical payments, depending on the market prices, are issued only when the effective price for a commodity is determined below the target price.
Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE)
Producers who enroll in DCP will be eligible to enroll in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program until August 14, 2009. Producers enrolled in DCP may receive advance direct payments and then later modify their enrollment if they later choose to participate in the ACRE program.
Farm Service Agency is an Equal Opportunity Lender, Complaints about discrimination should be sent to: Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250. Visit the Farm Service Agency Web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov/ for necessary application forms and updates on USDA programs.[[In-content Ad]]
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