In a pleasant surprise, the Bush administration called yesterday for less money to be spent on traditional farm subsidies and more to be spent on boosting conservation efforts and gaining access to international markets. The administration said traditional subsidies have allowed wealthy cotton and grain farmers to expand their acreage without losing benefits because subsidies haven’t been based on need. Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said, “This could be a watershed in agriculture policy if the administration follows through with specific proposals for the new farm bill.”

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