Currently – the federal government is working under a continuing resolution – which will end January 15th. Congress has to pass individual appropriations bills or a combined funding bill by then to avoid another government shutdown. Since Congress reached a budget deal last week – House and Senate Appropriations committees and subcomittees must now work through details of spending bills. The farm bill is still on Congress’ list of tasks – and House and Senate Ag Committee staffers are said to be working on the new farm bill and other bills over the holidays so they are ready when lawmakers return in January. While the House approved a one-month extension of the 2008 farm law – the Senate did not – and there are some unresolved issues left to be dealt with. However – Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Representative Tim Walz of Minnesota both expect the farm bill to be finished next month.