USDA has finalized a Memorandum of Understanding with the Internal Revenue Service to establish an electronic information exchange process for verifying compliance with the adjusted gross income provisions for programs administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service. This agreement will ensure that payments are not issued to producers whose adjusted gross income exceeds certain limits.
In making the announcement, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, this announcement - will ensure that the producers who depend upon the safety net of USDA programs will have future access to these programs by enhancing the overall integrity of the programs. The limits set in the 2008 Farm Bill are $500,000 non-farm average AGI for commodity and disaster programs; $750,000 farm average AGI for direct payments; and one-million non-farm average AGI for conservation programs.
The electronic process to be used reviews data from tax returns, performs a series of calculations, and compares these values to the AGI limitations from the 2008 Farm Bill. FSA and NRCS will receive a record that indicates whether or not the program participant appears to meet the income limits. Written consent will be required from each producer or payment recipient for this process.