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Agriculture

Farm Bill Payments Exceed Projections

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Some Midwest crop farmers are receiving their first government payments under the new farm bill enacted last year. As Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports, taxpayers are spending more than projected.

With the new farm bill, farmers choose a safety-net program—one based on average yield or on crop prices.

Lawmakers hoped the new programs would save money. But University of Illinois economist Gary Schnitkey says the program’s actually costing more this year than the system it replaced.

"It’s going to be over $6 billion," Schnitkey says. "And as we move through time those payments likely will come down in future years."

Schnitkey says the billions of dollars in savings projected when the law was passed last year could still be achieved over its five-year lifespan.