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Policy Plate BLOG

Your daily serving of food and farm policy.

The House Passes a Farm Bill

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The House of Representatives has finally passed a farm bill.  Passing through the House floor with a vote of 251-166, Wednesday morning marked the end of an over two-year battle.  While groups representing almost every interest have been calling on Congress to pass a five-year bill, the final bill leaves some wondering if it was really worth the wait.

The New York Times writes:

The most significant change to farm programs is the elimination of a subsidy known as direct payments. These payments, about $5 billion a year, are paid to farmers whether they grow crops or not and the issue had become politically toxic over the last several years as farm income has risen to record levels.

The new bill cuts this subsidy and adds some of the money to the government-subsidized crop insurance. The government pays 62 percent of premiums for the $9 billion-a-year insurance program.

Lawmakers said the elimination of the direct payments ensures that only those who actually farm would receive subsidies and only when affected by a disaster such as drought. Budget watchdog groups called it a bait-and-switch, and said it replaced one subsidy with an even more generous one.

Read the full article here.

Table Scraps:

Bloomberg News covers federal checkoff programs and why some groups aren’t pleased with where their money is going.

NPR writes about a few of the compromises different farm programs went through to make it into the final farm bill.

Tweet of the Day: @bradplumer The final farm bill draft removed a provision to disclose which members of Congress get crop insurance subsidies: http://www.taxpayer.net/media-center/article/farm-bill-removed-provision-for-lawmakers-to-disclose-subsidies-they-receiv …

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