Farm Bill: We're getting close (for real this time…probably)

House and Senate negotiators reached a deal on a new five-year farm bill late Monday night that ends direct payments, strengthens crop insurance and trims nutrition programs (food stamps) by about 1 percent.

Under the new farm bill, growers would have the choice between traditional price supports or insurance-like protection against a drop in revenue. For more details, click here.

The House is expected to vote on the new farm bill, which cuts spending by $23 billion over the next 10 years, sometime this week. A vote in the Senate would likely follow early next week.

“Compromise is rare in Washington these days, but it’s what is needed to actually get things done,” said Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the Agriculture committee. “My reservations are outweighed by the need to provide long-term certainty for agriculture and nutrition programs. This process has been going on far too long; I urge my colleagues to support this bill and the president to quickly sign it into law.”

Of course, we’ve been close to having a new farm bill a couple of different times over the last two years, only to see the bill derailed at the last minute. Could the same thing happen again?

The beef, poultry and pork industries have expressed their opposition to country-of-origin labeling provisions in the new bill as well as other regulatory issues. Senate Democrats could also take issue with the cuts to food stamp programs.

Is it enough to halt the bi-partisan momentum the farm bill current has? We’ll find out soon enough.

For now, it looks like we’re (once again) close to having a new farm bill.

More details on the farm bill agreement can be read here, here, and here.

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