Senate Passes Five-Year Farm and Food Bill

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By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has passed a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that cuts farm subsidies and land conservation spending by about $2 billion a year. But the measure largely protects sugar growers and some 46 million food stamp beneficiaries.

The 64-35 vote for passage defied the political odds. Many predicted that legislation this expensive and complicated would have little chance in an election year.

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The bill eliminates direct payments to farmers regardless of whether they plant crops. That program, which costs about $5 billion a year, has lost support at a time of big federal deficits.

The legislation now goes to the GOP-led House, which is likely to seek deeper cuts in food stamps.

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