The Senate passed, 64-35, a five year bipartisan reauthorization of the farm bill (S. 3240) on June 21. The $969 billion measure sets conservation programs, funds the food stamp program, provides a safety net for farms, and cuts $23.6 billion from the federal deficit. The legislation ends the practice of direct payments to farmers and reduces funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by roughly $4 billion. The bill provides $800 million for rural energy programs, including loan guarantees for on-farm renewable energy, energy efficiency projects, and research and development for advanced biofuels, though it does not create any new energy programs, only reauthorizing existing ones such as the Rural Energy for America Program that provides guarantees for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Senate leaders reached an agreement on 73 amendments earlier in the week, rejecting attempts by Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), John McCain (R-AZ), and Jim DeMint (R-SC) to repeal the Renewable Fuels Standard and prevent federal funds from being used to build ethanol blender pumps or ethanol storage facilities as well as amendments from Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and DeMint that would have eliminated biorefinery, renewable chemical, and bio-based product manufacturing assistance, prohibited entities that received a loan or loan guarantee for a wind energy project from receiving any additional federal subsidies for the project, and prohibited the Agriculture Department from providing loan guarantees, respectively. The House will mark up its version of the bill after the July 4 recess. The 2008 Farm Bill expires September 30.