The Office of the Inspector General released a May audit of USDA Farm Service Agency assistance programs, estimating that $28 million in FSA payments were improperly distributed during fiscal year 2011.
For the audit, the office sampled 122 payments totaling $5.2 million. Out of the samples, 14 errors were identified, 10 of which were SURE payments.
Many of the errors were caused by data entry mistakes at county offices, including omitting appropriate crop indemnity information, entering incorrect production to count, and entering incorrect county office committee adjusted production, among others.
While the OIG reports that second-party reviewing measures were in place, the reviewers did not detect the errors.
Though mistakes were made in the 2011 fiscal year, the report indicates that improvements were made from 2010 in the number and dollar amounts of improper payments. For fiscal year 2010, the OIG estimated $49 million in improper FSA payments.
In response to the audit, FSA issued a notice to state and county offices that stressed the importance of second party reviews, and identified tools to assist with the calculation process. The report indicates that FSA has initiated or completed appropriate corrective actions for all errors.