Although the 9-month extension of the 2008 farm bill expired on the 1st, Congress is close to negotiating the final reauthorization language. Two weekends ago, the House passed a procedural measure to combine the House agriculture-only farm bill with the House standalone nutrition bill. This allows the House to name farm bill conferees and move their now comprehensive farm bill to a conference committee to reconcile its differences with the Senate bill.
Last week, the Senate officially requested this conference process and reappointed its 12 conferees, which included 7 Democrats and 5 Republicans from the Senate Agriculture Committee. We hope that this will pressure the House to appoint its conferees.
If the conferees Speaker Boehner appoints are unable to agree with the Senate on a conference report, there’s been discussions that the farm bill could get wrapped in a much bigger, must-pass budget package.