UPDATE - US House defeats \'green\' plan in farm law rewrite
WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives defeated yesterday the major challenge to a $73 billion overhaul of the U.S. farm program, rejecting a proposal to shift money from crop subsidies to conservation.
Representatives rejected a proposal, 226-200, that would have shifted $1.9 billion from crop subsidies into land, water and wildlife conservation.
The proposal would have put U.S. farm supports on a new path that gave conservation a prominent role, rather than continuing to rely on grain, cotton and soybean subsidies to deliver federal supports to growers.
\"This is a farm bill, not an environmental bill,\" said Minnesota Republican Rep. Gil Gutknecht, one of a series of farm-state lawmakers who said environmentalists were asking for too much money when farmers were coping with the fourth straight year of low grain prices.
\"This is not a great contest,\" responded California Democrat Rep. George Miller. He said larger conservation spending would bring wider public support for farm programs. \"This is about the future of farming.\"
The conservation amendment would have taken about 40 percent of the $4.9 billion a year earmarked for additional crop supports, now running $7.7 billon a year. It would have tripled conservation spending to $5.4 billion a year.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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