Human Capital:

USDA's Payments Through County Offices

RCED-96-102R: Published: Apr 8, 1996. Publicly Released: Apr 8, 1996.

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GAO reviewed Department of Agriculture (USDA) program payments made to county committee members and county office employees. GAO found that: (1) USDA distributed $115.7 billion through county offices between 1985 and 1995, of which county committee members and county office employees received about $1.1 billion, about 1 percent of all program payments; (2) while county committee members generally received higher average payments than other producers, USDA reported that they tended to be full-time farmers and operate larger farms than other producers; (3) county office employees generally received the same average payments as other producers; (4) while most producers are only subject to random USDA compliance reviews, county committee members and county office employees are subject to annual USDA compliance reviews or reviews whenever program payments are made; (5) there was no evidence of improper payments or fundamental weaknesses in the internal controls governing the overall propriety and accuracy of the payments.

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