WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has begun consideration of a farm and food bill that would bring fundamental changes to how the government protects food growers during hard times, including putting an end to paying farmers regardless of whether they plant a crop.
The Senate is expected to spend several weeks on the five-year bill as lawmakers thrash out differences on safety net proposals and address the costs of the federal food stamp program, which makes up about 80 percent of the $100 billion in annual spending under the legislation.
Getting a new act in place before the current one expires in September will likely require tough negotiations with the House, which has taken a different approach to farm protection programs and is seeking deeper cuts.
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