By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a five-year farm bill on Tuesday, which would cut spending while creating new programs and subsidies for farmers. The bill now goes to the Senate floor, with a vote that could be called as early as this month. The farm bill would expand spending on federal crop insurance by 10 per cent, while making cuts to the food stamp portion of the legislation.
The legislation includes concessions to Southern rice and peanut farmers, which Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran strongly advocated for. The bill seeks to eliminate $5 billion in annual direct payment subsidies, which Southern farmers rely on while making it easier for them to qualify for other subsidies if prices decline. The bill calls for $2.4 billion a year in cuts, while the House version would attempt to save $4 billion out of $100 billion annually. A major chunk of the savings comes from direct payments. The savings would be allocated towards deficit reduction, creation of new programs and subsidies for farmers.
The extended farm bill expires Sept. 30.