USDA Partners With IRS to Reduce Farm Program Fraud

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on New Year’s Eve that the Agriculture Department is partnering with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to reduce fraud in farm programs and streamline payment limits for family farmers.

The actions are intended to strengthen the integrity and defensibility of USDA farm safety net programs and help the agricultural industry meet requirements included in the 2008 farm bill.

As part of the announcement, USDA has finalized a memorandum of understanding with the IRS to establish an electronic information exchange process for verifying compliance with the adjusted gross income provisions for programs administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service. This agreement will ensure that payments are not issued to producers whose adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds certain limits.

The limits set in the 2008 farm bill are $500,000 non-farm average AGI for commodity and disaster programs; $750,000 farm average AGI for direct payments; and $1 million non-farm average AGI for conservation programs.

USDA news release