Farm Bill Conference Progress
With the farm bill conference committee stalled because of strong disagreements over dairy provisions, last week the committee failed to release its draft bill and canceled its public meeting. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) continues to signal that he will not support a conferenced bill that includes a dairy program tying margin insurance to supply management. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Petersen (D-MN), however, continues to push for such language that milk producers in his district favor.
Even if the conference committee should resolve the dairy issue, there may be a possibility that the principals will not release a draft bill this week. Instead, the farm bill principals may release a draft bill the week of January 27. There is speculation that with the House and Senate scheduled to be in recess next week, the farm bill principals may hold releasing a draft agreement until a vote is scheduled towards the end of January. This tactic may help to avoid scrutiny of the bill, which would be counterproductive to whipping the requisite votes to pass a bill.