President Barack Obama has signed into law a farm bill he says will ensure children don't go hungry.
The bill will spread benefits to farmers in every region of the country while trimming the food stamp program; the cuts inspired a two-year battle over the legislation.
The bulk of its $100 billion per year cost is for the food stamp program that aids 1 in 7 Americans.
Obama says it still protects vulnerable Americans.
UPDATE: Tues 5:37 PM, Feb. 4, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) -- After two years of deadlock, Congress has finally approved a sweeping farm bill.
The Senate passed the bill 68-32 after House passage last week.
The $100 billion-a-year measure now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature. He'll sign it on Friday in Michigan, the home state of Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow.
The bill provides a financial cushion for farmers who face unpredictable weather and market conditions. It also provides subsidies for rural communities and environmentally-sensitive land. Recipients include Southern peanut growers, Midwest corn farmers and the maple syrup industry in the Northeast.
The nation's 47 million food stamp recipients will also be covered. The overall cost of the program will be cut by $800 million a year, or around 1 percent. That's a compromise. House Republicans pushed through a bill in September that would have made a cut to food stamps that was five times more than the eventual cut.
ORIGINAL STORY: Tues 9:22 AM, Feb. 4, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress is preparing to send President Barack Obama a massive, five-year farm bill that provides food for the needy and subsidies for the nation's farmers.
The Senate is expected to pass the almost $100 billion-a-year compromise bill Tuesday after the House passed it last week. The bill provides a financial cushion for farmers who face unpredictable weather and market conditions and makes a limited cut to food stamps, which supplement meal costs for 1 in 7 Americans.
The final bill would get rid of controversial subsidies known as direct payments, which are paid to farmers whether they farm or not. Most of that program's $4.5 billion annual cost would be redirected into new subsidies that would kick in when a farmer has losses.
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