Senate Passes Farm Bill

Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate passed the 2012 Farm Bill, setting the stage for a showdown with the House of Representatives.

After months of heated debate and protracted discussion, the Senate passed the nearly $1 trillion farm bill on Thursday. Approved only three months before the current farm bill expires, the bill was passed in an eleventh hour Senate session. Despite widespread acknowledgement of the importance of agriculture to the U.S. economy, many farmers and analysts feared that the bill might not pass.

The omnibus legislation contains several controversial provisions. Longstanding direct payment farm subsidies, a staple of agricultural production in many parts of the country, were eliminated. In their place, crop insurance programs have been strengthened, with increased subsidies going towards premium payments. In addition, nutritional funding has been cut, conservation funding has been reduced by 10 percent, and overall spending was reduced by $24 billion.

Despite some protest from Southern Senators who felt that the bill focused too many resources on Midwestern commodity farmers at the expense of cotton, rice, and peanut farmers, the bill passed with broad bipartisan support, with the final vote being 64-35.

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it will move to the House, where Republican leaders are expected to push for deeper spending cuts.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer