Posted October 17, 2013
The government shutdown ended last night after Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government and President Obama signed the bill. 
In a statement this morning, President Obama said that one of his top priorities for the rest of the year will be passing a farm bill, according to an Agri-Pulse article, available here.  The President said, “We should pass a farm bill, one that American farmers and ranchers can depend on; one that protects vulnerable children and adults in times of need; one that gives rural communities opportunities to grow and the long-term certainty that they deserve.”  The President’s full remarks are available here.
Progress on the farm bill seems to already be taking place.  Politico reports that the farm bill’s top four negotiators met Wednesday, hosted by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK).  The four present at the meeting were Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), ranking Republican Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), and ranking Democrat Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN).  This was the first meeting since the House appointed its conferees last Saturday. 
The first formal conference meeting between the House and Senate could be scheduled next week, according to an aide to House Agriculture Committee chairman Frank Lucas, as reported by Reuters, here.  Lucas will chair the conference committee, the end result being a compromise bill between the House and Senate versions.  According to two other congressional staffers, if Congress is not in session next week, the negotiators may not meet until the following week.
The first meeting of the House and Senate conferees typically marks the final round of work on legislation and a final version emerges within a few weeks.
Lucas says he is confident that there will be a consensus on a five-year bill.


For more information on farm bills, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.