"We found problems in the process the Farm Service Agency used to review the claims the producers submitted for payment—potentially making it harder to identify payment errors and fraud," says the report from the auditing arm of Congress. "We reviewed the claims of 90 producers, and over half didn't provide support for their payments."
The report recommends the FSA do four things to better guard against fraudulent claims:
- Conduct more spot checks of CFAP payments and try to focus more on claims for large payments and claims involving commodities FSA generally doesn't cover.
- Issue guidance directing the agency to identify factors that county offices should consider when choosing producers for spot checks.
- Direct agency officials who conduct spot checks to seek proof generated by third parties or, if that's not available, document why self-generated proof from the producer was acceptable.
- Direct state offices to monitor the quality of county offices' spot checks to ensure their accuracy.