Farm bill conference starts today

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The House-Senate farm bill conference committee is meeting today in Washington, D.C., with the meeting now scheduled to begin at 2:30 Eastern Time. The meeting will be in the Longworth House Office Building.

Representative Steve King (R-Iowa), who is one of the conferees, has been quoted as saying that reaching a compromise on food stamp funding will be the biggest challenge. He noted there is a $36 billion dollar divide that has to be overcome between the House and Senate versions of a farm bill.

Farm organizations with opinions covering the whole spectrum of views have been pushing their opinions at conferees. One letter sent Tuesday had more than 250 organizations attached in supporting a compromise that can pass in the Senate and House and be signed by the President. The 250 organizations represent America’s agriculture, conservation, rural development, finance, forestry, energy, trade and crop insurance.

It is also known that the rally for immigration reform that drew about 600 business leaders to Washington, D.C., yesterday also resulted in some congressmen being approached about pushing through a compromise farm bill before the holiday season.

The letter to Congress from the 250 plus organizations expressed its official opinion that “a farm bill without a meaningful nutrition title will make it difficult, if not impossible, for the House and Senate to reach a bipartisan agreement on a final version that can be signed by the President.”

There is some hope that a suitable compromise might result because members of Congress don’t want to reinstate permanent farm law of outdated policies from 1938 and 1949 acts.

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