The Senate voted 66-27 to pass a massive farm bill Monday evening that could set the course for the country’s food policy for the next decade. The wide-ranging, 10-year agriculture measure would cost taxpayers $955 billion.
That bulk of the money -- $760.2 billion -- would go toward the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – or commonly known as the food stamp program which helps low-income families buy food. The Senate bill makes a small cut to the food stamp program, while the House version shaves off $17.4 billion.
One of the more controversial provisions the Senate bill covers is crop insurance. In the past, farmers have been able to purchase an insurance safety net if their crops fail. Under the bill, the government would kick in another $5 billion of insurance per year – bringing the total to $12 billion a year – which would cover the deductibles and cushion the blow farmers would have to pay.
The Senate bill also budgets $58 billion over the next decade for conservation measures, and another $3.6 billion for programs promoting U.S. crops overseas.
The House side has its own $940 billion farm bill version. The House version spends more money on crop insurance, but less for food stamps and conservation efforts.