Farm Programs:

Payments and Loans to Foreign Owners of U.S. Cropland

RCED-87-81BR: Published: Mar 19, 1987. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent of the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) farm program payments and loans to foreign individuals and entities that owned U.S. cropland.

GAO found that: (1) USDA estimated that farm program costs would reach $72 billion for a 3-year period ending in 1988, with a large part of the funds going to producers for taking cropland out of production; (2) the total payments to foreign owners of U.S. cropland totalled $7.73 million, or about 0.4 percent of the total payments made in the counties studied; (3) the median payment to foreign individuals and entities was $8,472, while foreign corporations received a median payment of $12,862; (4) foreign owners took out price-support loans of about $12.3 million; (5) Congress introduced two bills to prevent foreigners from receiving farm program payments and loans, but took no action on either bill; and (6) GAO draft legislation could adversely affect some U.S. producers who share foreign-owned rented farms, but would not affect foreign owners who rent their U.S. farms to producers.

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