A measure championed by U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan adds $5 million in new funding to the 2013 farm bill to help root out crop insurance fraud.
The Senate approved Hagan's amendment by a vote of 94-0. The money will boost the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency, which is responsible for policing the $120 billion taxpayer-supported program that insures farmers against losses from weather and pests.
The North Carolina Democrat introduced the measure after The Associated Press reported in February that federal investigators unraveled a massive scheme by insurance agents, claims adjusters, brokers and farmers in eastern North Carolina to steal about $100 million. Forty-one defendants have either pleaded guilty or reached plea agreements after profiting from false claims on losses of tobacco, soybeans, wheat and corn.
Savannah River Project To Be In Court this Week
A federal judge has scheduled a hearing to formally settle lawsuits challenging the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel.
A tentative settlement was reached last month and U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel is slated to hold a hearing next Wednesday in Charleston.
Environmental groups and a South Carolina agency sued last year, contending deepening the 32-mile shipping channel will dredge up toxic cadmium.
Under the settlement, the Army Corps of Engineers would have to perform more mitigation, the Georgia Ports Authority would provide more than $25 million in conservation efforts and transfer 2,000 acres of salt marsh to South Carolina.
June Surveys Going Out this Week
Farmers should be on the lookout for their June survey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. During the first two weeks of June – NASS Director of National Operations Bob Bass says NASS will collect data from farmers for its June Surveys…
“We want to measure acreage planted to spring crops. We want to get the inventory numbers for the hogs and pigs. And we also want to give an indication of stocks of grains stored on farms and commercial facilities. That more or less, completes a picture of crops and live stocks here at the mid year period.”
Bass says by the end of this month or the beginning of June – some of the scientifically-selected farmers and ranchers across the country will receive a questionnaire in the mail.