The US Senate yesterday passed the long-debated farm bill on a margin of 68 to 32 and sent it to President Obama for his signature. Contained in that bill are measures to help protect farmers from impacts of environmental events, trim the food stamp program, and provide funds for agricultural research programs. However, Wyoming Senator John Barrasso points out the bill as passed also contains funds to continue the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program for states and counties occupied by federal lands. He says it’s money that Washington owes communities. He points out that it is a vital part of the communities’ functions in providing services; and it’s payment to those communities because the land, owned by the government and controlled by the government, isn’t in private hands so there are no taxes being paid on it by private owners. It was placed in the farm bill when it had not been included in the general spending bill. Barrasso says, “It seems irresponsible in Washington to not make their payment in lieu of taxes.” Barraso says the bill also provides for the reauthorization of livestock disaster assistance, brucellosis research, consolidation of conservation programs, and a strong forestry title that incorporates his Good Neighbor Forestry Act.