As expected, the Senate passed its version of the farm bill this week by a vote of 66 to 27. According to government math, the bill would save $24 billion over 10 years compared to what will be spent if current laws are left in place.
The key provisions included in the Senate bill have been discussed before, including elimination of direct payments, creation of a shallow loss program, a new dairy program based on margins and a link between conservation compliance and crop insurance premium subsidies.
Now the focus turns to the House, where the version passed by the House Ag Committee will be debated. The fate of the farm bill in the House is far from certain, with strong divisions over food stamps and dairy policy reforms. But it looks like a House farm bill will at least be debated; something that did not happen in 2012.