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Produce farmers cheer farm bill

WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday passed a final version of a new five-year farm bill by a vote of 318 to 106, a margin large enough to override President Bush's promised veto of the nearly $300-billion measure.

Support came after lobbying by a coalition of farm groups, antihunger advocates, environmental organizations and the biofuels industry. The bill continues farm subsidy programs with minor changes and increases spending on nutrition programs such as food stamps by $10.4-billion.

Bush has said the bill allows payments to wealthy individuals. He has also criticized restrictions on the use of food aid dollars during food shortages abroad, and he said that protectionist provisions, including "an egregious new sugar subsidy program," could worsen trade relations.

The bill, for the first time, includes significant money for fruit and vegetable growers.

Senate Democrats calculated specialty crop spending in the bill at about $3-billion. Florida is the second-leading state in specialty-crop production, after California.

>>Fast facts

How they voted

Democrats: Kathy Castor, Y.

Republicans: Gus Bilirakis, Y; Ginny Brown-Waite, Y; C.W. Bill Young, N; Vern Buchanan, Y; Adam Putnam, Y.

Produce farmers cheer farm bill 05/14/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 10:37pm]
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