The US Senate is expected to pass the Farm Bill now that they are back from recess, and Minnesota Senator Al Franken says the bill goes in a positive direction. He says it is a good bill with some reforms. It gets rid of direct payments, but has a strong crop insurance safety net and saves $24-billion on the debt. The biggest change in this farm bill from years past is the elimination of the direct payments that the federal government gives to farmers, even when their yields are high. It includes instead a risk management system that supports farmers only when they are hurt by weather disasters or fluctuating commodity prices. The legislation also covers a wide range of energy technologies, and keep sugar price supports in place. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the 5-year farm bill will cost taxpayers $955-billion over the next 10 years. About 80% of that will go to nutrition assistance programs like food stamps.