The U.S. Senate on Thursday rejected Minn. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's amendment to limit farm bill payments.
Sen. Klobuchar's amendment would exclude farmers with incomes over $750,000 from receiving farm subisidies.
The measure needed 60 votes to pass, but it received less than 50.
Sen. Klobuchar calls the amendment 'real reform,' saying it's needed because too many rich farmers are getting too much government money.
Southern senators mostly opposed the bill. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas called it an unfair means test harmful to large rice growers in her state.
The House version of the new farm bill sets a $1,000,000 income limit.
Senate leaders hope to pass a farm bill yet this week. If that happens, the next step would be a House and Senate conference committee to reconcile differences in the two bills.
President Bush has already threatened to veto the farm bill unless it contains significant changes in the subsidy program.