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Senate Ag Committee to examine USDA accountability

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., will hold a hearing June 23 on accountability in programs at the Agriculture Department.

In an interview Wednesday, Stabenow said that the hearing would focus on the functioning of programs throughout the department, measuring performance and fraud and abuse, and raising issues of how programs might be streamlined to avoid duplication, red tape and paper work for farmers.

Stabenow said the hearing would “look across the board” at USDA from farm programs to conservation, nutrition and rural development.

Panels will include representatives from USDA, the Government Accountability Office, and farmers and participants in other programs. In a time of fewer resources for farmers, Stabenow said, she wants to “focus on accountability, measure every dollar” and hear from “people on the ground who can talk from their standpoint.”