Subsidies beyond death

Agriculture Department can’t track cash for crop handouts

Just after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a farm bill last month that continues crop-subsidy payments but strips funding for food stamps, it was announced that between 2008 and 2012, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service sent $10.6 million in subsidy payments to more than 1,000 farmers who had been dead for more than a year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Additionally, a government audit determined that the USDA does not have the means to make sure the subsidies get sent to the right people.

Ironically, in May, when the House version of the farm bill still included food stamps, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale, pictured), an area rice farmer and regular recipient of crop subsidies ($5.1 million since 1995 to him and his family), successfully added an amendment to the bill that would require the use of electronic databases to make sure food-stamp applicants were qualified to receive them.