JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville residents are collecting tens of thousands of dollars in farm aid every year, even if their land isn't being farmed.
According to the Environmental Working Group, more than 160 people in the Jacksonville area collected about $160,000 in direct payments last year. These people have an ownership interest in a farm and receive direct payments regardless of need, or whether a farm has even produced a crop.
A recent government audit found the U.S. Department of Agriculture does a poor job of tracking land use.
A new farm bill proposed by Congress would get rid of these direct payments entirely. However, the deadline for that bill is Sept. 30, and if Congress doesn't make that deadline, the current bill will be renewed.
If the new farm bill doesn't pass, billions of taxpayer dollars will continue to be spent on these unnecessary direct payments.