The average farmer probably won’t notice anytime soon that the 2014 farm bill has expired, but producers who try to sign up for some conservation programs could be turned away, and some commodity groups will have to go without some trade promotion funding on which they have counted.
When House and Senate negotiators sit down in coming days to start writing the final version of a new farm bill, they will find that many of their sharpest differences will be over how far they should reshape and fund conservation programs.
If history is a guide, there’s little chance Congress will enact a new farm bill this year. Congress hasn’t enacted a farm bill in the same year it was first introduced since 1990, which is what lawmakers are trying to do this year.
Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee this week will seek to get a strong bipartisan vote for their farm bill draft from the panel, giving the measure momentum as it heads to the Senate floor in the following days.
The Senate Agriculture Committee’s draft farm bill would make additional improvements for dairy producers and the Agriculture Risk Coverage program while expanding the Conservation Reserve Program and renewing a research foundation and other popular programs that are slated to run out of money when the current farm bill expires.
Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee are working to finalize key details of their draft farm bill, including changes to the Agriculture Risk Coverage program, with hopes of bringing the legislation out of committee sometime in June.
The White House has endorsed the House farm bill ahead of a contentious floor debate, saying the legislation would provide certainty to farmers while imposing “common-sense work requirements” on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.