U.S. Senate passes farm bill

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Senate passed the nearly $1 trillion farm bill in a bipartisan vote Tuesday. Sixty-eight voted in favor of its passage with 32 voting against it.

The five-year bill already passed the House on a 251-166 vote last week and is ready for President Barack Obama’s signature.

The president believes the bill will make a positive difference for the rural economies that grow America’s food.

The main provision of the bill is the end of $5 billion yearly direct subsidy payments to farmers, expansion of the popular crop insurance program by $5.7 billion and cut in spending on food stamps for some poor Americans by one percent or $8 billion over the next decade. The latter translates to $90 less food stamp benefits for some 850,000 people. The food stamp program or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program serves some 47.5 million Americans.

The bill also cuts the number of conservation programs to 13 from 23 to save $6 billion.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said the bill works for all of America and will strengthen agriculture for years to come.

The bill has been long overdue being mired in Congress for nearly three years as House conservatives wanted drastic cuts in the food stamp program in its version.

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