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Farm bill conference begins

WASHINGTON -- U.S. House and Senate negotiators Wednesday begin to discuss differences about versions of the farm bill they passed, with a goal of passing new federal farm policy by year’s end.

The first public meeting of the conference committee begins at 1:30 p.m. Central time and can be watched on the Web at

The Upper Midwest will represented by Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Steve King, R-Iowa; Tim Walz, D-Minn.; and Kristi Noem, R-S.D.; and Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; John Hoeven, R-N.D.; and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

The biggest issue negotiators face will be food stamp funding. Senators approved a $400 million cut out of $80 billion while the House voted to chop $4 billion.

The lawmakers also must deal with details about how to shave some of the $5 billion annual farmer subsidies and need to figure out whether to continue providing a stabilization program to help dairy farmers.

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