Farm Bill negotiations continue

Farm BillHouse and Senate conferees have progressed toward a five-year Farm Bill including agriculture and nutrition programs. However, with House members leaving Washington this past Friday for the holidays, it appears clear that a framework for a conference report will not be finalized until January. In the meantime, the House passed a one-month extension of the 2008 Farm Bill by voice vote earlier last week. House Republicans argued this will calm the public’s fears that going past December 31 without a Farm Bill would result in rising milk prices. Others argued that the effects of going into January without a five-year Farm Bill would not result in rising milk prices for months—and a five-year Farm Bill can and should be finalized by that time.  Senate leaders do not plan to bring an extension to the floor for a vote, maintaining pressure on all to complete a five-year Farm Bill in the early weeks of 2014. The four principals – Senators Stabenow and Cochran, and Congressmen Lucas and Peterson—may meet again this week to continue negotiations on the five-year bill. Stay tuned to future Government Affairs Forum updates.

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