Talks continue between principle leaders in the Senate on the new farm bill. There were a couple of meetings for Ag Committee members last week. And lawmakers said that – perhaps – we could see a full farm bill presented this week.
Senator Tom Harkin, the former chairman of the Senate Ag Committee during the past two farm bills, told reporters last week that the talks were being held up because of concerns about the details of the revenue and income protection programs.
Harkin says all titles are under consideration, including energy, conservation, food stamps and commodities. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis is hopeful the Energy Title will remain mostly intact.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad Conrad noted last week that that dairy segment of the farm bill “is especially difficult” – partially due to the question of whether payment limits would be applied to the dairy program.
Ahead of the Veteran’s Day Weekend, Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow talked at length with Conrad and Senate Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Sen. Tim Johnson of S.D.
Stabenow later told a reporter, “We’re tweaking the bill” and that there might be a final product this week.
Agricultural leaders had set a Nov. 1 deadline to send a bill to the super committee, but will miss that deadline by at least two weeks.
The House was out of Washington last week, but will return this week. Leaders of the Ag Committees have told the super committee they would agree to a cut of $23 billion in agricultural programs over 10 years, but they want to rewrite the farm bill in the super committee bill because it would not be subject to amendment or filibuster.