Farm bill focuses on food stamp requirements, farm subsidies

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WASHINGTON (NBC) – It’s taken more than two years but Congress finally passed a $956 billion Farm Bill on Tuesday.

The five-year deal affects everything from food stamps, to farm subsidies and research and regulation programs.

For Dave Williams, a good meal is hard to come by since he gets $189 a month in food stamps.

He also turns to assistance centers when the money runs out.

He says he’s relieved the new Farm Bill doesn’t include nearly $40 billion in cuts, initially proposed by fiscal conservatives.

Instead, stricter eligibility requirements will save about $8 billion.

Williams said, “It definitely makes things easier, you know, I can breathe a little better.”

Farmers are losing direct subsidies and will transition to a crop insurance program.

Josh Sewell, a member of Taxpayers for Common Sense, said, “There are times when you could still be making money but you don’t make as much as you were hoping to and could get a payout.”

Fiscal conservatives are focusing on a catfish inspection program and millions of dollars to promote maple syrup.

Sen. John McCain, R- Arizona, said, “The next time you see an advertisement for maple syrup, you may want to watch it because it’s your tax dollars that paid for it.”

The bill’s supporters are celebrating the more than $16 billion in savings it achieves.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman for the Agriculture Committee, said, “This is a reform bill that contains the greatest reforms to agriculture programs in decades.”

The bill now goes to the president, who has already said he will sign it.

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