There will be a Farm Bill, it will be a five-year bill that provides a strong crop insurance safety net and it will pass this session of Congress.
That's the consensus put forth by top agriculture committee representatives from both the House and Senate in meetings with North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) in Washington, D.C., last week.
Rep. Michael Conaway (Texas), a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, stood in for committee Chairman Frank Lucas (Okla.) who was unable to attend at the last minute.
Conaway said he is sure there will be a five-year bill and it will pass before Sept. 30 when the extension of the last bill expires.
Chairman Lucas has also announced that the full committee is scheduled to begin marking-up the new farm legislation on May 15.
House ranking member Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.) told NAAJ members that there is more will to bring a bill to the House floor this year than there was in 2012, when the best that Congress could wrangle was a one-year extension of the 2006 bill.
Senate Agriculture Chairman Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) told NAAJ members she supports a robust crop insurance program and the addition of more specialty crops under the insurance umbrella.
"To me, it just seems reasonable to give the growers of these crops access to same risk management tools that other growers have had all along," she said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) announced that he expects the Senate Farm Bill to be considered by the full Senate at the end of May or early June.
Given this announcement, it can be anticipated that the Senate Agriculture Committee will begin the mark-up of their farm legislation sometime around the week of May 13.