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President coming to Lansing to sign Farm Bill

LANSING, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Friday, Air Force One will land in Lansing.

President Obama will be at Michigan State University to sign the newly approved Farm Bill.

President Obama is expected to tour the facilities at MSU Friday to see firsthand how the Farm Bill impacts the research done there.

The bill provides money for food stamps, helps farmers create jobs and strengthens crop insurance.

A new farm bill is passed every five years.

After years of negotiations, the U.S. Senate passed the nearly $100-billion-a-year measure Tuesday.

The House passed the bill last week.

It will also provide hundreds of millions of dollars for research at places like MSU.

Many are praising the bill for the economic opportunities it provides.

"I think it opens up new opportunities, and I think, you know, frankly, what changes the face of agriculture in the immediate term is this new Farm Bill. When I made reference to local and regional food systems in the bio-based economy in manufacturing new products, this opens up a whole new vista of economic opportunity that has not existed before. And this Farm Bill makes an historic investment in both of those things. And so I'm excited about that," said Secretary of Agriculture Tome Vilsack.

But it's not without controversy. Watchdog groups are upset about the money given to special interest.

The Farm Bill creates a new 15-cent fee on every live cut Christmas tree sold to create a board to promote Christmas trees.

The new bill also hikes spending to $200-million a year for an advertising program that promotes giant agriculture companies and industries.

And, funding will be renewed for a controversial catfish import inspection office. 11 taxpayer watchdog groups lost their fight to eliminate it as unnecessary because there's also one at the Food and Drug Administration.

"The Farm Bill is a disaster for tax payers. It's a boon for special interests," said Tom Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste. "There will continue to be duplicative and overlapping inspection of catfish costing taxpayers $170 million over the next ten years."

Friday at MSU President Obama will also launch a new program to help American farmers and rural businesses boost their exports.

The new "Made in Rural America" initiative will connect rural businesses with federal resources that can help sell their products and services abroad.