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December 13
​Farm Bill Negotiations Continue; Temporary Extension Possible 

Although conferees were reportedly making substantial progress on some of the more contentious titles of a farm bill, recently stalled negotiations have potentially set the stage for a one-month extension of the 2008 farm bill, which is set to expire on December 31, 2013. With only one day remaining on the House legislative calendar – scheduled to adjourn December 13 –  the House passed H.R. 3695, which would extend the current extension of the farm bill through January 31, 2014.

However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) have both refused to take up an extension in the Senate due to opposition to direct payments to farmers, which would continue under a farm bill extension but have been eliminated in both versions of the bill currently being considered in conference. The Senate is expected to adjourn December 19, and Chairwoman Stabenow has urged House leadership to remain in session to complete negotiations on a long-term farm bill. Despite differing opinions over a short-term extension, both parties from the House and Senate are hopeful that a final conference report will be provided the first week of January.

With negotiations nearing completion within most other titles, conferees will use the holiday break to finalize details surrounding the highly contentious Nutrition Title. While no details have been confirmed, rumors are that the negotiators have agreed on an overall cut of $8 billion over 10 years for nutrition provisions. This amount places the funding closer to the Senate bill, which has a cut of almost $5 billion, than to the House bill, which has a cut of almost $40 billion. Negotiations are likely to extend into the New Year and NACo will continue to provide updates as any progress is made.

Contact: Arthur Scott at or 202.942.4230


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