Senate approves grants for maple syrup industry

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The Senate farm bill amendment was approved by voice vote. The amendment grants the Secretary of Agriculture the ability to issue grants that promote education, sustainability and promotion of marketing for maple syrup and the maple syrup industry.

The amendment's approval came during an almost day-long series of votes on 73 amendments to the farm bill.

Just before and just after the Senate approved the maple syrup amendment, it also approved three other amendments by voice vote. The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) aimed at improving broadband access in rural areas. An amendment by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) modifying a provision in the farm bill on locally produced foods was approved. Sen. John Boozman's (R-Ark.) amendment aimed at improving research and information dissemination on food and agriculture was approved by voice vote as well.

Another amendment, also by Wyden, creating a test program for feeding impoverished Americans was approved by division vote.

The Senate defeated an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) repealing two federal conservation programs in a vote of 15 to 84. The two programs were the conservation stewardship program and the conservation reserve program.

Another amendment by Boozman redirecting funds from food stamps to the Secretary of Agriculture in order to make commodity purchases for food banks was also defeated, 35 to 63.