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Betting the Farm

Every five years or so, Congress passes a massive farm bill to fund the federal government’s agricultural programs. For decades, it included guaranteed subsidies to farmers—-payouts worth $4.5 billion a year under the 2008 bill. But no more. With U.S. farm profits at a record $129 billion, in 2014 lawmakers eliminated the subsidies. Instead, the nation's 1.7 million farmers must choose between two new programs intended to protect them against unexpected losses. One would...