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    US Farm Service Agency Scraps Failed $423Mln IT Program

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    A new GAO report says that the US Farm Service Agency had to scrap its nearly half-a-billion IT modernization program after it failed to deliver most of its features.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Farm Service Agency (FSA) had to scrap its nearly half-a-billion IT modernization program after it failed to deliver most of its features, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report said.

    “The Farm Service Agency experienced significant cost overruns and schedule delays, deferred the majority of the envisioned features, skipped key tests and deployed software in April 2013 that was slow and inaccurate,” the report, released on Thursday, said.

    The modernization plan, called the Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems (MIDAS), was originally projected to cost $330 million.

    By March 2015, MIDAS had overrun its baseline cost estimate by $93 million. The final cost estimates soared to $659 million as its completion was delayed from early 2014 to late 2016 before it was finally scrapped, the GAO said.

    The FSA said it envisioned MIDAS as a single platform to host data, tools and applications for administering farm program benefits that would be integrated with US Department of Agriculture's financial, geospatial and data warehouse systems.

    But the FSA has delivered only “about 20 percent of the functionality that was originally planned for MIDAS,” the report noted.

    “Of 18 key practices associated with sound IT acquisition and investment management and required by USDA or FSA policy, FSA implemented two, partially implemented seven practices, and did not implement nine others,” the report concluded.

    GAO state that the program “floundered for two years,” before being scrapped.

    Since 2004, FSA spent about $423 million to modernize IT systems through the MIDAS.

    The Farm Service Agency is a component of the US Department of Agriculture that primarily works on implementing farm conservation and regulation laws around the United States.


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