The Senate has begun laying the groundwork on a massive farm bill that would cut spending while also creating new subsidies for farmers.
The legislation the Senate Agriculture Committee is considering Tuesday makes concessions to Southern rice and peanut farmers, thanks to a new top Republican on the committee, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. The bill eliminates $5 billion in annual subsidies called direct payments that are important to those Southern farmers but makes it easier for them to receive alternate subsidies if prices dip.
The Senate bill calls for a total of roughly $2.4 billion a year in cuts, while a House version to be considered Wednesday would save $4 billion out of about $100 billion annually. Those cuts include more than $600 million in yearly savings from across-the-board cuts that took effect this year.