Natural resources (1 - 10 of 49 items)
USDA Administrative Services: Streamlining Efforts Ongoing, but Actions Needed to Monitor Progress, Identify Benefits, and Share Lessons Learned
GAO-16-168: Published: Mar 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 2016.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to streamline and improve administrative services began in mid-2011 and have evolved since then. Initially, USDA launched a department-wide initiative to improve administrative services and selected 27 recommendations for implementation. USDA officials said 25 of the 27 had been implemented, and 2 were in progress, as of October 2015. For example...
Emerging Animal Diseases: Actions Needed to Better Position USDA to Address Future Risks
GAO-16-132: Published: Dec 15, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 2016.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not take regulatory action during the initial response to the outbreaks of Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases (SECD) beginning in May 2013, when an outbreak was first detected, because the agency did not believe then that such action was necessary. Instead, USDA initially supported swine industry-led efforts. Without regulatory action, such as requirin...
Crop Insurance: Reducing Subsidies for Highest Income Participants Could Save Federal Dollars with Minimal Effect on the Program
GAO-15-356: Published: Mar 18, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 18, 2015.
About 1 percent of crop insurance participants would have been affected if premium subsidies had been reduced for the highest income participants from 2009 through 2013, based on GAO's analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Farm Service Agency (FSA). The highest income participants were those with incomes that exceeded limits in place for...
Crop Insurance: In Areas with Higher Crop Production Risks, Costs Are Greater, and Premiums May Not Cover Expected Losses
GAO-15-215: Published: Feb 9, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 2015.
The federal government's crop insurance costs are substantially higher in areas with higher crop production risks (e.g., drought risk) than in other areas. In the higher risk areas, government costs per dollar of crop value for 2005 through 2013 were over two and a half times the costs in other areas. The figure below shows the costs during this period. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture'...
Climate Change: Better Management of Exposure to Potential Future Losses Is Needed for Federal Flood and Crop Insurance
GAO-15-28: Published: Oct 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 20, 2014.
Since GAO's 2007 report on flood and crop insurance, exposure growth in hazard-prone areas has increased losses, and climate change and related increases in extreme weather events may further increase such losses in coming decades. Scientific and industry studies GAO reviewed generally found that increasing growth and property values in hazard-prone areas have increased losses to date and that cli...
U.S. Department of Agriculture: Workforce Decisions Could Benefit from Better Linkage to Missions and Use of Leading Practices
GAO-14-288: Published: Mar 31, 2014. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 2014.
From fiscal years 2003 to 2012, the size of the workforces declined at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) service center agencies—the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Rural Development (RD). The size of USDA's service center agencies declined by a higher percentage from fiscal years 2011 to 2012 than the average annual percent decline from fi...
Farm Programs: Changes Are Needed to Eligibility Requirements for Being Actively Involved in Farming
GAO-13-781: Published: Sep 26, 2013. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 2013.
Compliance reviews conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) to determine if farming operation members (individuals and entities) meet the payment requirements for being actively engaged in farming are hindered by broad and subjective requirements and difficulty in verifying individuals' evidence of claimed contributions. To be actively engaged in farming, an indi...
Pesticides: EPA Should Take Steps to Improve Its Oversight of Conditional Registrations
GAO-13-145: Published: Aug 8, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 2013.
The total number of conditional registrations granted is unclear, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that its data are inaccurate for several reasons. First, the database used to track conditional registrations does not allow officials to change a pesticide's registration status from conditional to unconditional once the registrant has satisfied all requirements, thereby overstat...
Farm Programs: Additional Steps Needed to Help Prevent Payments to Participants Whose Incomes Exceed Limits
GAO-13-741: Published: Aug 29, 2013. Publicly Released: Aug 29, 2013.
As part of verifying if farm and conservation program participants had incomes below statutory limits--making them eligible to receive certain 2009 and 2010 program payments--reviews of tax returns by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency's (FSA) state offices varied in quality. GAO's review of 115 tax return files from selected state offices found that some files met age...
Farm Programs: USDA Needs to Do More to Prevent Improper Payments to Deceased Individuals
GAO-13-503: Published: Jun 28, 2013. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2013.
Since 2007, the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers various programs for farmers that help support farm incomes and provide disaster assistance, has established procedures for preventing improper payments to deceased individuals, including, on a quarterly basis, matching payments to program participants with the Social Security Administration's (SSA) dat...