The Bush administration yesterday endorsed an $82 billion overhaul of farming legislation that would phase out subsidies and double conservation spending. The plan, proposed by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), would shift federal benefits away from big grain and cotton growers and toward fruit, vegetable, and livestock farms, as well as land-preservation efforts. Earlier this month, the House voted against an amendment to its farm bill that also would have reduced subsidies and dramatically increased conservation spending. In other, less auspicious news from the White House yesterday, Bush again called on the Senate to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The plea, made during a speech to a gathering of Sacramento business groups, marked the second time this month Bush asked the Senate to open the Arctic Refuge in the name of national security.

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