A deputy secretary of agriculture told the Des Moines Register that potential payments under the new farm bill “are just off the charts.” Charles Conner said the payments that would be due under the new farm bill could be billions of dollars greater than what lawmakers have estimated.

For instance, the Register’s Philip Brasher wrote, under “a new program created by the bill, subsidies for corn alone could reach $10 billion a year nationwide if market prices dropped to $3.25 a bushel, a historically high level. Another $4 billion could be paid to soybean growers at a market price of $7 a bushel. This would push the price tag for the farm bill well over the $300 billion mark over the next five years. It was estimated by Congress to cost $289 billion over five years.”

The farm bill easily passed both the House and Senate this week. President Bush has threatened a veto.

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