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Farm Bill Deal Reached

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MISSOULA -

After years of wrangling, we could have a farm bill as early as this Wednesday. Congressional negotiators completed work on a new five-year $500 billion farm bill Monday.

The Farm Bill would save an estimated $24 billion over ten years, with about a third of the spending cuts coming from the popular food stamp program. The proposed legislation also would mark the end of $5 billion in annual direct payments, increase the number of crop insurance programs available to farmers and require farmers to follow conservation compliance measures to receive subsidies.

Senator Max Baucus was on the conference committee. He issued a press release Monday afternoon calling attention to several provisions for Montana farmers. The list is below:

  • Making Livestock Disaster Assistance Programs he created in 2008 permanent;
  • Preserving the state of Montana's management of logging roads;
  • Making sure programs for farmers are designed in a way that works for Montana's large, rural counties;
  • Finding a responsible balance between cutting waste and protecting programs that feed Montana families in tough times;
  • Making sure the Forest Service has tools to fight Bark Beetle infestation and protect Montana timber jobs;
  • Extension of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program;
  • Prevented a provision that would have weakened Country of Origin Labeling;
  • Removed provisions that would have eliminated market transparency and eliminated the enforcement of some Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Act (GIPSA) regulations.

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