Published since 1946
House and Senate Designate Farm Bill Conferees
Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have designated members to serve on the Farm Bill conference committee to resolve differences and negotiate a final package. The House designated 29 Republican conferees and 18 Democratic conferees; the Senate designated nine conferees representing both parties. While Congress went into recess in early August, committee staff have already been working to resolve some of the differences and committee leadership in both chambers are expected to lead negotiations on more challenging issues including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and conservation programs. Some areas of difference within conservation programs between the House and Senate include the House bill’s elimination of the Conservation Stewardship Program while boosting the Conservation Reserve Program.
On July 26, the chairs and ranking members of the Agriculture Committees in both chambers met to begin discussions on the final Farm Bill. After their meeting, they released a joint statement about the process: “We look forward to working together to get a Farm Bill finished as quickly as possible, and we’re committed to finding solutions to resolve the differences. We must keep working to provide American farmers and families with the certainty and predictability they need and deserve.”
The current Farm Bill expires on September 30 and there are some who question whether the conferees will be able to reach agreement on a final package and secure votes before the deadline. However, policy analysts anticipate that a compromise will need to be enacted before November since the new agriculture policy will be important during the midterm elections.