The U.S. Senate has passed a farm bill with vast implications for an Ohio industry that generates more than $93 billion for the state economy.

Industry experts and trade associations across Ohio say they support the $500 billion bill that eliminates direct payments to farmers and instead boosts a “critical” aspect of the legislation by strengthening safety nets such as crop insurance.

The bill, which for many months was tied up as lawmakers tacked on amendments, was approved 64-35 June 21. Now, the bill moves to the House, where members are expected to begin considering it later this week.

The Senate version will save taxpayers $23 billion, mostly by eliminating direct subsidies to farmers. It will also reduce the bureaucracy involved in many farming programs because lawmakers agreed on streamlining certain processes and eliminating some programs.

Direct subsidies now will be replaced by a market-based system that relies on current crop-year data, market prices and actual yields. It will pay farmers only when the market fails, thus preventing farmers from collecting on crops they may have not planted.

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