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BOISE -- Direct payments from the government to Idaho farmers and ranchers dropped 17 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year.

University of Idaho agricultural economists tell The Capital Press that the projections are based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.

John Foltz, dean of University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, says government payments to Idaho farmers will likely continue to decline in future years.

The subsidies are paid to farmers whether they plant or not, and are part of the farm bill.

The GOP-controlled House and Democratic-led Senate spent a chunk of last year wrangling over renewing the nation's farm bill after passing competing versions of the five-year, roughly $500 billion measure.

The two sides disagree about crop subsidies.

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