The principle negotiators for the 2018 Farm Bill met this week in an attempt to reach an agreement before the lame-duck session ends in December. After the meetings were completed, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) was quick to pass blame on his fellow Republican, House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), for holding up negotiations. Chairman Roberts says the other principles are prepared to reach and agreement but Chairman Conaway refuses to compromise on the nutrition, commodity, and conservation titles of the bill.
Tensions are high, and both chairmen feel the pressure to close out a deal before the new Congress begins with a Democrat majority in the House. Chairman-in-waiting Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) is expected to reset negotiations and propose his own version of a new Farm Bill that will scrap many of the Chairman Conaway’s proposals. All four principle negotiators remain outwardly optimistic Congress will pass a new Farm Bill during the lame-duck, but with each passing week it appears more likely they will settle for an extension that delays the enactment of a new Farm Bill into the next Congress.