Senate approves farm bill; 5 things to know

Senate approves farm bill; 5 things to know

Posted: Updated:
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • July Mugshots - Northeast Tennessee

    July Mugshots - Northeast Tennessee

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 1:51 PM EDT2014-08-26 17:51:57 GMT
    The following are mugshots of individuals arrested on a variety of charges in July by local authorities in Northeast Tennessee.More >>
    The following are mugshots of individuals arrested on a variety of charges in July by local authorities in Northeast Tennessee.More >>
  • Federal court filings show holes used for sex acts inside Bristol adult novelty store

    Federal court filings show holes used for sex acts inside Bristol adult novelty store

    Thursday, August 28 2014 1:58 AM EDT2014-08-28 05:58:06 GMT
    Federal court documents reveal in the past, the owner of an adult novelty store on State Street in Bristol, Va. was selling more than just lingerie, pornography and synthetic drugs. Instead, pictures filed at the federal courthouse in Greeneville earlier this month show waist-high holes in private rooms inside Exotic Illusions.More >>
    Federal court documents reveal in the past, the owner of an adult novelty store on State Street in Bristol, Va. was selling more than just lingerie, pornography and synthetic drugs. Instead, pictures filed at the federal courthouse in Greeneville earlier this month show waist-high holes in private rooms inside Exotic Illusions.
    More >>
  • Man hospitalized after hitting his head on rock in Boone Lake

    Man hospitalized after hitting his head on rock in Boone Lake

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:38 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:38:48 GMT
    A Johnson City man was arrested Saturday after police said he assaulted his father with a hammer.According to police, Robert Collins, 25, attacked the victim, choked him, hit him with a hammer, and then smashed a kitchen window.Collins was charged with one count of aggravated domestic assault and one count of vandalism.He's in the Washington County Detention Center on $25,000 bond.Copyright WJHL 2014. All rights reserved.More >>
    A Johnson City man was arrested Saturday after police said he assaulted his father with a hammer.According to police, Robert Collins, 25, attacked the victim, choked him, hit him with a hammer, and then smashed a kitchen window.Collins was charged with one count of aggravated domestic assault and one count of vandalism.He's in the Washington County Detention Center on $25,000 bond.Copyright WJHL 2014. All rights reserved.More >>

By MARY CLARE JALONICK
Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress has given its final approval to a sweeping five-year farm bill that provides food for the needy and subsidies for farmers.

Ending years of political battles, the Senate on Tuesday sent the measure to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it. The Senate passed the bill 68-32.

The bill provides a financial cushion for farmers who face unpredictable weather and market conditions. But the bulk of its nearly $100 billion-a-year cost is for the food stamp program, which aids 1 in 7 Americans.

Five things you should know about the farm bill:

WHERE THE MONEY GOES:

Most of the bill's almost $100 billion-a-year price tag goes to the nation's food stamp program, now known as SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. One in seven Americans, or about 47 million people, participates in the program. The legislation cuts food stamps by about $800 million, or 1 percent, by cracking down on states that seek to boost individual food stamp benefits by giving people small amounts of federal heating assistance that they don't need. Much of the rest of the money goes to farm subsidies and programs to protect environmentally sensitive lands.

SUBSIDIES MAINTAINED:

Farmers will continue to receive generous federal subsidies that help them stay in business in an unpredictable environment, but through revamped programs. The bill eliminates a fixed $4.5 billion-a-year subsidy called direct payments, which are paid to farmers whether they farm or not. New subsidies would require farmers to incur losses before they could collect from the federal government. The bill would also overhaul dairy and cotton subsidies and transition them into similar insurance-style programs. Most farmers would pick between a program that would pay out when revenue dips or another that pays out when prices drop.

The legislation would also spend about $570 million more a year on crop insurance, which, on top of subsidies, protects farmers in the event of major losses.

CRACKDOWN ON FOOD STAMP FRAUD: The Agriculture Department has been aggressively tackling food stamp fraud in recent years and the final farm bill will add to that. It would step up efforts to reduce fraud by retailers who sell food stamps, track SNAP trafficking and ensure that people who have died do not receive benefits. The bill would also prohibit lottery winners and convicted murderers and sex offenders from receiving food stamps.

HEMP LAWS RELAXED: The bill would allow farmers to grow hemp, marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin, in 10 states as research projects. Those states already allow the growing of hemp, though federal drug law has blocked actual cultivation in most.

Hemp is often used in rope but has also been used to make clothing, mulch, foods, creams, soaps and lotions.

VICTORY FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUPS: The No. 1 farm bill priority for animal rights groups was to defeat a House provision that would have blocked an upcoming California law requiring all eggs sold in the state to come from hens that live in larger cages. Livestock groups have fought the state law, which will be a major burden for egg producers in other states who use smaller cages and still want to sell eggs to the lucrative California market. The animal rights groups won, and the provision blocking the California law didn't make it into the final bill.

The animal rights groups also won language that will make it a federal crime to attend an animal fighting event or bring a child to one.
  • Click here to find details on the massive farm bill.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091
Email: newsroom@wate.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Knoxville, Inc. A Media General Company.