An 18-year-old debate over whether farmer cooperatives should be allowed to share crop insurance profits with their members has flared up behind closed doors as negotiators try to finish a new farm bill.
The four lead farm bill negotiators, meeting for the first time since some bickering erupted over the expiration of the 2014 law, declared that they are working together to reach an agreement by the end of the year.
The four lead farm bill negotiators failed to reach a deal in time to avert Sunday’s expiration of the 2014 law, but they emerged from a one-hour meeting Wednesday to say they are committed to finalizing an agreement that Congress can consider following the mid-term elections.
The 2014 farm bill is set to expire in just over one week, raising concerns about disruptions in a number of programs, including one of the largest conservation programs as well as much smaller programs that help commodity groups open overseas markets.
Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts plans to call the first formal meeting of the farm bill conference committee shortly after the Labor Day recess and hopes to make headway by then in settling differences with the House negotiators.