President Obama Signs The Farm Bill

After finishing a tour of a biotechnology plant in Lansing, Mich., looking at ways that agricultural products can be converted into fuel, chemicals and animal food, President Obama signed the farm bill on Friday, saying it will promote agriculture, provide more money for research into the environment and energy, and feed hungry Americans through the food stamp program.

The five-year bill approved by Congress this week expands federal crop insurance, changes the food stamp program by cutting it by $800 million per year, and also eliminates billions in subsidies to farmers, to be replaced by an insurance program.

"This bill helps to clamp down on loopholes that allowed people to receive benefits year after year whether they were planting crops or not," Obama said. "And it saves taxpayers hard-earned dollars by making sure that we only support farmers when disaster strikes or prices drop."

Obama and his aides also promoted a program called "Made in Rural America," designed to boost exports of U.S. agricultural products. Speaking in front of a backdrop that included a John Deere tractor, Obama said that "we've got great products here that need to be sold, and we can do even more to sell around the world."

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