On a 62-38 vote, the Senate passed the Farm Bill on Tuesday and the President is expected to sign it into law on Friday in Michigan, home state of Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, the Associated Press reports.
The bulk of the nearly $100 billion-a-year measure is for the food stamp program but will still benefit farmers. According to CNN, the bill changes 82 years of agricultural subsidies, ending the direct payments farmers received regardless of harvest quality or crop prices. To accommodate this change, more money will go to crop insurance, which will be cheaper, and the government will pay out some benefits at lower levels than before.
However, the Associated Press says that the bill does have a stricter limit on the overall amount of money an individual farmer can receive — $125,000 in a year, when some programs were previously unrestricted.
The Farm Bill also affects conservation efforts. Harvest Public Media reports that overall funding for conservation is lower this year after decades of consistent increases. Conservation efforts will now be tied to crop insurance, and farmers will have to show they’re protecting wetlands and land vulnerable to erosion to receive federal help paying for crop insurance. There’s also a penalty for plowing virgin farmland.