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New farm bill to alter safety net, bring certainty for farmers

Iowa farmers last week ap­­plauded the U.S. House of Re­­presentatives passage of a new five-year farm bill after a difficult and frustrating two-year legislative struggle.

The farm bill passed the House on a 251-166 vote, with the entire Iowa delegation voting in favor of it. The U.S. Senate is also likely to approve the farm bill early this week, and President Barack Obama is expected to sign it soon after.

The nearly 1,000-page bill, which was hammered out by a conference committee earlier in the week, would revamp the safety net program for grain farmers, strengthen conservation programs, rework dairy support programs and provide assistance to livestock farmers hit by drought or other weather disasters.

It would reduce government costs by eliminating direct payments to farmers, which cost the government about $4.5 billion per year. It would also tighten the eligibility for nutrition assistance, or food stamps, projected to save $8 billion per year.

Know rules of the game

While the anticipated bill is far from perfect, it does provide the certainty...




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