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Farm bill near passage after three years of haggling in Congress

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WASHINGTON — Congress is on the verge of dramatically overhauling federal farm and nutrition policies affecting a broad range of issues, from how food is packaged and sold to how the government helps poor people pay for their groceries.

After three years of arduous haggling, the Senate is expected to give final passage Tuesday to a new five-year farm bill that the House passed last week. President Obama is expected to sign it when it gets to his desk.

The $956.4 billion package has sailed through Congress in recent days with little opposition, making it a rare bipartisan accomplishment in an otherwise rancorous and unproductive era.

The legislation will eliminate billions of dollars in direct subsidy payments to the nation’s farmers.

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