A farm bill passed Thursday by the U.S. Senate that would let diversified growers receive crop insurance stands to benefit Maine's small farmers, according to Maine officials. However, the bill still needs to make it through the House and receive approval by September, when the current farm law expires.
The measure would end a $5 billion farm subsidy program that provides direct payments primarily to large grain and commodity producers, according to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. A $10 billion subsidized crop insurance program would replace the subsidy program, and would allow smaller farms to qualify for crop insurance. Walt Whitcomb, Maine's agriculture commissioner, said it would also help dairy farmers with new price supports. The bill would also provide funding to help farmers transition from conventional to organic methods, and make it easier for farmers' markets to accept electronic food stamps.
The House is not expected to take up the bill until mid-July.
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