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Local Farm Family Disputes USDA Allegations

Updated: Thursday, January 30 2014, 10:41 PM CST
A
local farm family hit with a more than $5 million settlement with the
feds is disputing any ideas that they did something wrong.

Dowson
Farms reached a $5.4 million settlement after an investigation by the
U.S. Attorney's office. It alleged the farm's owners set up sham
entities to receive increased government subsidies. But according to a
statement released by Roger Heaton of Dowson Farms, the family disputed
the allegations from the beginning, and had their entity structure
approved by the USDA's highest level in the state.

The Farm Service Agency declined to comment to us about this case, but explained how farmers sign up for these programs.

"A
multitude of documents you have to complete for eligibility purposes,
to determine that you are who you say you are, and that you're farming
the way that you say you're farming," Rick Graden of the USDA Farm
Service Agency said. "And then we base our payments based on that. It's
county offices. In Illinois, we've got 93 FSA county offices. It's their
responsibility to make sure the paperwork is complete and accurate."

According
to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office, the settlement is neither
an admission of guilt nor a concession by the United States that its
claims were not well-founded.


Local Farm Family Disputes USDA Allegations


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