USDA paid $1.1 billion in farm payments to deceased individuals, a Government Accountability Office report found this week.
A Senate Finance Committee hearing showed information that suggested a farmer has more to lose by being honest and telling USDA that a participant has died.
"We passed a law that said a person must be actively engaged in the business of farming before they could receive a farm payment. It's a mystery to me how a dead farmer can be actively engaged. As far as I know, the only way dead farmers can be actively engaged is if they're pushing up daisies," says Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. "I'll be interested to see how the Department has progressed on these new issues as well as the problems that were brought to light in 2004."