In a closely contested vote yesterday, the U.S. House defeated an amendment to a massive farm bill that would have shifted $19 billion from crop subsidies to conservation efforts. The defeat, which was engineered largely by lawmakers from traditional farming states, paves the way for approval of a 10-year, $171 billion farm bill that would increase subsides for grain and cotton farmers. Critics, including the Bush administration, say the bill gives too much money to large farms and not enough to environmental efforts, but supporters claim it is the greenest farm bill ever considered by Congress, with conservation spending up 78 percent from past packages.