By MARY CLARE JALONICK
WASHINGTON (AP) - House and Senate negotiators are set to begin crafting a compromise farm bill, including cuts to the food stamp program.
The talks open Wednesday afternoon, just two days before food stamp recipients will see a separate, unrelated cut in their monthly benefits. On Friday, a temporary benefit from the 2009 stimulus that boosted food stamp dollars will expire.
According to the Agriculture Department, that means a family of four receiving food stamps will receive $36 less a month.
Food stamps now cost almost $80 billion a year. The House farm bill would cut food stamps by $4 billion annually and change eligibility and work requirements. The Senate bill would cut a tenth of that amount.
The five-year farm bill totals about $500 billion.