Senate Passes $1 Trillion Farm Bill Agreement After Long Delays

imagesThose of you who have participated in the Menu for Future or Hungry for Change discussion courses offered by Northwest Earth Institute have likely been following the Farm Bill, which sets policies for hundreds of programs, including farm subsidies and food stamps. The Senate on Tuesday passed the long-awaited Farm Bill, ending two years of stalled negotiations and clearing what is expected to be the last hurdle for the nearly $1 trillion spending measure. The bill was passed with strong bipartisan support, 68 to 32. The legislation now heads to the desk of President Obama, who is expected to sign it. The nearly 1,000-page bill reauthorizes hundreds of programs for agriculture, dairy production, conservation, nutrition and international food aid. Below is an excerpt from the New York Times coverage from earlier this week. For the full article, click here

No one was happier than Danny Murphy, a Mississippi soybean farmer with 1,500 acres, when the Senate on Tuesday passed a farm bill that expanded crop insurance and other benefits for agribusiness. “It’s a relief,” Mr. Murphy said. Few were as unhappy as Sheena Wright, the president of the United Way in New York, who expects to see a surge of hungry people seeking help because the bill cuts $8 billion in food stamps over a decade. “You are going to have to make a decision on what you are going to do, buy food or pay rent,” Ms. Wright said.

The long-stalled farm bill, which represents nearly $1 trillion in spending over the next 10 years and passed on a rare bipartisan vote, 68 to 32, produced clear winners and losers. Over all, farmers fared far better than the poor. The nearly 1,000-page bill, which President Obama is to sign at Michigan State University on Friday, among other things expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over a decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop. But anti-hunger advocates said the bill would harm 850,000 American households, about 1.7 million people spread across 15 states, which would lose an average of $90 per month in benefits because of the cuts in the food stamp program…

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