Farm Payments:

Cost and Other Information on USDA's Commodity Certificates

RCED-87-117BR: Published: Mar 26, 1987. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Agriculture's use of commodity certificates and the costs of issuing the certificates in lieu of cash payments.

GAO found that: (1) the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) issued about $5.5 billion in commodity certificates to farm program participants in lieu of cash payments; (2) as of January 1987, participants had exchanged $3 billion in certificates for crops under price-support loans and, as a result, increased net loan outlays by $3.1 billion; (3) although the increase in CCC outlays resulted from the certificates' effect on CCC loan programs, the certificates also reduced government inventory and loan stocks, as well as related storage, transportation, and handling costs; (4) farmers who exchanged certificates for grain realized benefits by marketing the grain at higher prices than the exchanged values; and (5) commodity certificates also created easier access to CCC-owned grain at market prices.

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