The Farm Bill has pitted the Administration against Congress and in some cases the House Agriculture Committee against the Senate. Items of contention include payment limits, income eligibility and how to pay for farm programs.
"We hope to walk through the process between the White House and the Hill," Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer says. "And may be able to narrow the gaps there and come to a conclusion where the President would sign a new Farm Bill this year, which is his desire."
There has been speculation that Farm Bill talks have completely stalled, but Schafer says that is not the case.
"I think they're talking," Schafer says. "You know everybody's of course positioning themselves in the negotiations but it seems to me there is an openness to put some ideas on the table and move forward."
If a Farm Bill isn't completed by Mar. 15, the current bill will have to be extended or farm legislation would revert to 1949 law. Schafer says neither of those is acceptable.