U.S. Senate passes farm bill
The U.S. Senate has passed the federal-level farm bill by a vote of 68-32.
The legislation, supported by both Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, reportedly saves $15 billion over the next 10 years.
The legislation is structured differently, eliminating direct subsidy payments to farmers and instead, creating a new crop insurance program.
It will also consolidate government conservation programs and cuts about $8 billion in funding for food stamps - a point that many opponents saw as a non-negotiable.
Many opponents of the legislation said the food stamp cuts meant problems for children and families, but those in support said that the legislation would better utilize Michigan-grown commodities, helping those in need.
"This bill really does represent an exciting change of direction for American agriculture," said Ryan Findlay, national legislative counsel for the Michigan Farm Bureau. "Farmers are just like most other businessmen and women in that they prefer to make their own decisions are should their own responsibilities, whether it's about when and what to play in a given field, or what kind or how much crop insurance to purchase."
The bill will now head to the President's desk for approval.