The House Agriculture Committee will begin preliminary work on a new farm bill this year, although the new blueprint for U.S. agriculture policy won't likely be completed until early 2007, according to Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

Goodlatte told reporters earlier this week his committee will begin the process by holding hearings later this year in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

The focus of the hearings will be on finding what is wrong with the 2002 Farm Bill, "as well as looking for innovative new ideas," Goodlatte said.

As to what the 2007 Farm Bill will contain, the chairman said it was far too early to tell. Possible upcoming budgetary restraints and trade agreements will be key in shaping what lawmakers do over the next two years, he said.