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U.S. House votes today on spending bill -- aid for dairy farmers, after-school meals

The U.S. House will vote today on an agriculture spending bill that includes $350 million in new aid for struggling dairy farmers.

Wisconsin Senate Democrat Herb Kohl and House Appropriations Chairman David Obey of Wausau helped convince a conference panel to budget the emergency aid for farmers hurt by low prices.

Farmers would get $290 million in direct subsidies.

Another $60 million would be spent on cheese and other dairy products for government food programs.

Also, the bill includes funding for after-school meals for needy youngsters. Wisconsin is one of a just few states to get that aid.

Kohl added the provision, as the state is seeing a dramatic increase in kids eligible for free and reduced price school lunches.

In Milwaukee, 69 percent of students are eligible for school lunch subsidies and the recession has caused a 7 percent increase in applications this year. Milwaukee's Hunger Task Force says the proposed after-school meal aid would help about 1,600 youngsters if it's approved.