Information on Peanut Allotment Owners That Lease and Rent Away Rather Than Plant Their Peanut Allotment Quotas
CED-81-156, Sep 21, 1981
GAO was requested to review the extent to which peanut allotment owners lease or rent away their allotment quotas. The objectives of the review were to: (1) determine the availability of certain information in records which the Department of Agriculture maintains on the peanut program; (2) determine the validity of the Department's estimate that 70 percent of the peanuts grown in the United States are produced using leased or rented allotments and quotas; and (3) obtain information on the occupations and primary sources of income of the allotment owners who lease or rent away their allotment quotas.
GAO found that county offices of the Department's Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) maintain records on individual leases and rentals of peanut allotments; however, only those records on leases are summarized for internal agency reporting purposes. The ASCS records do not show the primary occupation or sources of income of the allotment owners. The Department's estimate that 70 percent of peanut allotment acreage planted is leased or rented is based on data obtained from a 1978 survey. The purpose of this survey was to obtain information on peanut production practices in selected growing areas. Because it was not a comprehensive study, not all peanut-producing States and counties were represented and only a small number of producers were contacted in the selected areas. Therefore, the data contained in the survey cannot be projected across the whole program. Data developed by GAO on the extent of peanut allotment leasing and renting in four selected counties indicated that a significant number of the allotment acres are leased or rented.