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USDA tests online subsidy system

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is testing a program that would allow farmers to receive government subsidies over the Internet. The pilot program will run in counties in 21 states. Farmers in those counties who are eligible for loan deficiency payments, made to farmers to help them cover bills when crop prices are low, will be able to apply for and receive the payments electronically. Separately, the USDA announced it would post online a side-by-side comparison of the 1996 Farm Bill and the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. The tool, available on USDA?s farm bill Web site, will include title-by-title comparison, a glossary of farm bill terms, links to background information and economic analysis.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is testing a program that would allow farmers to receive government subsidies over the Internet. The pilot program will run in counties in 21 states. Farmers in those counties who are eligible for loan deficiency payments, made to farmers to help them cover bills when crop prices are low, will be able to apply for and receive the payments electronically.

Separately, the USDA announced it would post online a side-by-side comparison of the 1996 Farm Bill and the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. The tool, available on USDA?s farm bill Web site, will include title-by-title comparison, a glossary of farm bill terms, links to background information and economic analysis.