On April 18th, Environmental Defense praised a U.S. House vote to support limits on farm subsidy payments to the nation's largest farms and greater funding for voluntary conservation and research programs.
The House passed by a 265 to 158 margin a motion to instruct farm bill negotiators to limit annual feed grain, rice and cotton subsidies to $225,000 per farmer, and to shift $1.3 billion to U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation and research programs.
The motion was championed by Reps. Nick Smith (R-MI), David Bonior (D-MI), and Ron Kind (D-WI).
House and Senate negotiators are completing a $173 billion farm bill.
"This vote reveals that the House of Representatives overwhelmingly supports a Farm Bill that helps small farmers and the environment, and that members of Congress are frustrated by the direction farm bill negotiators have taken," said Environmental Defense spokesman Scott Faber. "Only conservation payments flow to all farmers and all regions, but less than 20% of the funds in the proposed farm bill would flow to these programs. As currently proposed, most farm bill funds would continue to flow to the largest farms in 15 states."
The Senate approved $21.3 billion in new conservation spending, but House and Senate negotiators recently agreed to include only $17.1 billion for conservation.
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