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The future of direct payments is unclear. Both the Senate- and House Ag Committee-approved 2012 farm bills would’ve ended the $5 billion-per-year program, but the extension retained it. Groups such as the National Corn Growers Association, which attempted to replace direct payments with the Senate-approved Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program, were disappointed in the extension for this precise reason.
Iowa State University Center for Ag Law and Taxation Director Roger McEowen says, if direct payments are going to stick around, they will do so because of the changing makeup of Congressional committees and subcommittees.