The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed another short-term extension of the 2002 Farm Bill, this time for a week. House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., encouraged members to support the measure saying that progress has been made and the bill can be completed with just a few more days. Peterson also spoke about the ground that has been gained in the areas of nutrition, conservation, energy and specialty crops in this bill.
"All of these important investments will be lost if we don't have time to finish this conference," Peterson says. "This short extension will allow us to finish our work and bring back to the House a conference report that meets the needs of all American agriculture and consumers."
Peterson says he thinks they are very close to having a resolution for the offset funding issue that will have the support of the House, Senate and the Administration.
"We shouldn't halt the momentum that is finally getting this process moving in a positive direction," says Goodlatte.
Although Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner says enough progress has not been made to warrant an extension, Ag Secretary Ed Schafer told reporters in Kansas City Wednesday that USDA is likely to recommend a one-week extension if agreement can be made on reforms, the cost of the bill and how to pay for it.
The Farm Bill Conference Committee will meet to discuss more titles of the bill on Thursday morning.