#FarmBill Passes in Senate

 The nearly 1 trillion dollar farm bill passed the senate today 68-32.  The bill cuts food stamps by around $800 million per year, and continues generous farm subsidies that supports farms and companies deemed important to US health (Sunkist, Washington Apple Commission, among others) stay in business in an unpredictable environment.  Some believe that the bill is a great step forward, as it will allow farmers more security and the ability to plan for the future, yielding less expensive, higher quality crops.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the farm bill, argues that the bill will "further expand markets for agricultural products at home and abroad, strengthen conservation efforts, create new opportunities for local and regional food systems and grow the biobased economy."  Others criticize the bill as welfare for corporate giants and special interests: "At a time of supposed fiscal caution, this bill would put taxpayers on the hook for another five years of billion-dollar handouts to huge, profitable agribusiness," says PIRG's Dan Smith.  "These subsidies are pure and simple a boon for special interests, at the expense of average taxpayers."  The bill goes to President Obama for approval later this week.



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