Coronavirus Food Assistance Program: USDA Should Conduct More Rigorous Reviews of Payments to Producers, Report to Congressional Committees [open pdf - 3MB]
From the Highlights: "To provide support for agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019], USDA distributed tens of billions of dollars in supplemental assistance to agricultural producers, such as farmers and ranchers. Part of this assistance was distributed under CFAP [Coronavirus Food Assistance Program]. USDA established CFAP to provide payments to producers that experienced price declines and higher costs to sell their commodities because of COVID-19. Producers received payments based on signed statements certifying that the claims in their CFAP applications were correct. Producers also had to provide records supporting their claims to FSA [Farm Service Agency] and GAO [Government Accountability Office], on request. The CARES Act [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act] includes a provision for GAO to monitor and report on the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, GAO was asked to review CFAP payments and FSA's implementation and oversight of CFAP. This report examines (1) the distribution of CFAP payments, (2) the extent to which producers that GAO selected for review provided support for CFAP payments, and (3) the extent to which FSA verified producers' compliance with program rules. GAO reviewed statutes, guidance, and other documents; analyzed FSA data on CFAP payments as of December 2021; reviewed CFAP claims and support from 90 producers that GAO selected based on risk factors; and interviewed agency officials. [...] GAO is making four recommendations for FSA to conduct more rigorous reviews of CFAP applications. FSA generally agreed with the recommendations."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/