The GAO report bluntly criticizes the program (the title of the report is "Direct Payments Should Be Reconsidered"), and reviews payments between 2002 and 2011. One of the key findings centers on payments to the fallow farms. These are farms that reported ALL of its acreage as fallow for five consecutive years (in this case, from 2007-11).
Arizona has 85 farms - of varying sizes - that meet the fallow (faux?) farm definition. They are predominantly in central (Maricopa and Pinal counties) and southeastern (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee) Arizona. (See, page 14 of report.) As the GAO report points out, many of the fallow farms are in areas where land use has changed significantly over recent time, and that the USDA ("U.S. Department of Agriculture") should be better able to ferret out fallow farmers in these areas; central Arizona certainly fits that description.
The 85 farms in Arizona are fewer than the numbers located in several other states. However, those Arizona fallow farmers received $750,531 in 2011, significantly more than those in Texas ($449,438). This suggests that the possibly-undeserving recipients of direct payments in Arizona are receiving larger amounts than others around the country.
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