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Passing Farm Bill Top Priority In 2014

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(AP) – South Dakota’s congressional members say passing and implementing the multibillion-dollar farm bill so that it helps the state is their priority for 2014.

The House and Senate have approved different versions of the five-year, roughly $500 billion bill, and there are major differences regarding crop subsidies and how much to cut food stamp programs. Lawmakers hope to negotiate a final version early next year.

A new farm bill also would restore emergency protections for livestock producers. That would bring relief to South Dakota ranchers who lost between 15,000 and 30,000 cattle during the early-season blizzard in October.

Republican Senator John Thune says the immediate priority is to pass the bill, but he also wants to make sure it works in South Dakota.

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