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1. AGRICULTURE:

Negotiators release final farm bill with wins for conservation, renewable energy

House and Senate negotiators yesterday evening released a long-awaited farm bill agreement that would extend agriculture programs for the next five years. The bill significantly modifies the federal agricultural subsidy system and cuts food stamp spending, in addition to including a number of environmental and energy provisions. In a major win for conservationists, the bill would tie conservation requirements to federal crop insurance subsidies, while also limiting subsidies on newly tilled land. The legislation would also provide nearly $900 million in mandatory funding to renewable energy and biofuels initiatives over the next five years and extend incentives to renewable chemical manufacturers.

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