© 2023 NPR Illinois
The Capital's NPR News Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
HIRING! Help fund the NPR Illinois mission to inform the community by securing business sponsorships.
00000179-2419-d250-a579-e41d38650002Issues of food, fuel, and field affecting Illinois.

U.S. Senate Approves Farm Bill


The U.S. Senate passed the farm bill Tuesday by a vote of 68-32, sending it to the president’s desk and ending years of political wrangling.

Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk were among the 68 "yea" votes.  To view Durbin's video statement on the farm bill vote, https://vimeo.com/85835735" style="line-height: 1.5;">click here.

The legislation is expected to become law, as President Obama previously indicated he would sign the measure. The House passed it Jan. 29.

The new farm bill makes cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly called food stamps. It also does away with direct payments subsidies, making crop insurance the bedrock of the federal farm safety net.

Direct payments to farmers – fixed government payments that don’t take crop performance or planting into account – were controversial. They cost about $4.5 billion annually, and were sometimes referred to derisively as “welfare for farmers.” The new farm bill would channel most of that money toward expanding the government-subsidized crop insurance program.

Cuts to the SNAP budget proved the most divisive element of drafting a new farm bill. House Republicans had wanted $40 billion in cuts over ten years. Senate Democrats advocated for $4 billion. The compromise legislation drawn up by the conference committee charged with negotiating the differences between House and Senate bills includes cuts to the program’s budget of about $8 billion over ten years.

The farm bill also makes significant changes to conservation policy, dairy policy and includes expanded safety net programs for livestock industries.

More: 2014 farm bill would change U.S. ag policy

Peter has a diverse background in public, independent and commercial media production. Beginning in 2011, Peter served as reporter and “Morning Edition” host for WUIS. He completed his work at WUIS in 2014. Prior to his start in public radio, he covered the Illinois legislature for NBC affiliate WANDTV-17 and helped launch Phenom Features, a non-profit apprenticeship film studio. Peter hails from Oswego, Ill., where he grew up watching WTTW-11/PBS.
Jeremy Bernfeld is Harvest Public Media’s multimedia editor and is based at KCUR. New to the Midwest, Jeremy joined Harvest in 2011 from Boston where he helped build wbur.org, named the best news website in the country by the Radio Television Digital News Association. He has covered blizzards and tornadoes and the natural disaster that was the Red Sox’ 2011 season. A proud graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, Jeremy’s work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the (Falmouth, Maine) Forecaster and on NPR’s Only A Game.
Related Stories