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Farm Bill Enters Final Push

After months of the latest negotiations, a 5-year farm bill appears to be nearing the home stretch for completion. Farm bill conferee staff worked through the weekend in an effort to allow the 41 conference committee members to approve a farm bill on Monday or Tuesday of this week, just in time for President Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday.  It has been indicated that a full conference vote and report may be completed by late Monday, clearing the path for a request to the House Rules Committee to be made with full floor action possible as early as Wednesday in the House.

Perhaps the most contentious issue, cuts to the food stamp program, appears to be settled with a tentative deal to reduce spending by about $8.6 billion over 10 years. Other outstanding issues to be resolved in the last-minute negotiations include whether to eliminate subsidy caps and payment eligibility requirements that were in both the House and Senate farm bills.   

Tentative highlights from the conference report include the implementation of a dairy gross margin insurance program without a supply management feature, payment limits for all commodity groups at $125,000 per person or $250,000 per couple, a 3-year a djusted g ross i ncome (AGI) limit on on-farm or off-farm income of $900,000, and linking conservation compliance to the crop insurance program, but without payment limits or means testing of the crop insurance program.

Final details of the full conference report and House action will be forthcoming. Please check back this week for additional updates. You may also follow Kyle Cline, national policy advisor on Twitter @ifbkyle.

Kyle Cline, National Policy Advisor, (317) 692-7845, kcline@infarmbureau.org.

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