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Farmers Wary of Foodies as Obama Transforms Rural Aid

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack knows that Farm Belt protocol requires paying respect to the Butter Cow. During a visit to the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 17, he made the pilgrimage to the 600-pound bovine sculpture carved from pure creamery butter. Now that he is U.S. Agriculture secretary, Vilsack wants to take a chunk out of another sacred cow: $15.4 billion in farm subsidies.

Record federal deficits and changing priorities are spurring President Barack Obama’s administration to redirect who gets rural aid. The government is shifting payments to broadband providers, land-conservation efforts and nutrition programs, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Aug. 30 issue.