US Senate Approves Farm Bill 05 Feb 14

Congress has passed a new five-year Farm Bill, with the Senate voting to approve the trillion-dollar legislation by a vote of 68-32 Tuesday. Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Papp says that farmers have been waiting for a new Farm Bill for 491 days. The bill makes some cuts to food stamps, but it’s a fraction of what the Republican-controlled House proposed, and the cuts don’t affect Minnesota. It basically ends direct payments to farmers also, but beefs up crop insurance and the sugar program is preserved as well. Both Minnesota Senators voted in favor of the Farm Bill. Senator Al Franken says there are some cuts in conservation funding, but a farmer must participate in those programs if they receive help with crop insurance. Franken’s renewable energy incentives were also included in the final Farm Bill package. President Obama is expected to sign the bill.