By Brett Neely, Minnesota Public Radio

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee approved a farm bill Thursday.

The bipartisan legislation ends direct payments to farmers and replaces them with more generous federal crop insurance subsidies. At the hearing, DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar noted that the bill cuts agricultural spending by almost $25 billion over the next decade.

"This year, we have been charged with doing more with fewer resources," Klobuchar said. "We've eliminated direct payments and further focused farm payments on our family farmers. We've also worked to eliminate fraud and waste throughout the farm bill to ensure that these programs are efficient and targeted."

The farm bill also authorizes federal nutrition programs, such as food stamps. Those programs will see a $4 billion cut over the next decade in the Senate bill. The Republican-controlled U.S. House has indicated it wants even deeper cuts in the food stamp program when it considers its own farm bill later this year.