Farm groups Thursday welcomed the Senate Agriculture Committee's release of the 2013 Farm Bill draft, which appears in many ways to be similar to last year's Senate-passed bill.
Overall, the bill is projected to cut $23 billion from the deficit over 10 years, the same amount that was estimated in the senate's FY14 budget.
Hot-button issues such as crop insurance, SNAP reform, conservation streamlining and disaster relief were highlighted in groups' comments and in a summary of the bill provided by Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
Groups support early action on Farm Bill, look forward to next week's markup
Eliminating direct payments
A key portion of the 2013 Farm Bill will be the elimination of direct payments, according to Stabenow. Changes to crop programs are expected to account for $16 billion in savings.
The proposed changes would cap leftover risk management support following the end of direct payments at $50,000 per person. Additionally, requirements would be more stringent as to ensure farm payments are not distributed to non-farmers via the "management loophole."
Crop insurance and disaster relief provisions will also be strengthened, Stabenow's proposal said.
SNAP changes ahead
According to the Ag Committee's summary, the bill would eliminate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program loopholes by stopping lottery winners from receiving benefits, preventing states from disseminating SNAP benefits via home heating assistance, cutting down on retailer fraud and preventing tobacco and alcohol purchases with SNAP benefits.