Senate wading through farm bill

Published online: May 29, 2013
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The Senate worked through amendments proposed to the farm bill. While a lot of amendments will be considered, the final bill is expected to be very similar to the bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The full Senate has already considered and rejected amendments to change the cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), an area where the Senate bill is expected to be substantially different from the bill now being considered in the House.

The farm bill is not expected to come to the House floor for a vote until mid-June at the earliest.

Just a reminder - producers have until June 3 to decide if they want to enroll in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program for 2013 crops. The 2008 Farm Bill extension gives crop producers the option to enroll in ACRE or in the Direct and CounterCyclical Payment (DCP) program.

Farmers have until August 2 to enroll in the DCP program if they do not choose ACRE. USDA is also holding an open signup for the Conservation Reserve Program. This signup began May 20 and goes until June 14. Interested producers need to contact their FSA office.

The House Appropriations Committee has started approving bills to fund the government departments for fiscal 2014. There are 13 departments that must be funded and usually Congress fails to pass all the bills needed.

If bills aren't passed by both houses of Congress, the government funding is done by continuing resolutions, which have been the primary approach in recent years.