House aims to finalize farm conference

Later Friday, in outlining the legislative schedule for next week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) also listed a farm bill conference report as one of the items for possible consideration. As it is, the House is on a shortened schedule, returning Monday but then only staying through Wednesday — demanding a quick turnaround for the farm bill but not an unattractive scenario for its proponents if they can, in fact, get a deal together Monday.

Except for one early public session of the full 41 member House-Senate conference, most of the farm bill negotiations have been left to the top four members of the two Agriculture Committees: House Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Ohio) and his ranking Democrat, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson and Senate Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and her ranking Republican, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran.

The four have made substantial progress toward an agreement though the last issues impacting dairy, payment limits and livestock regulations are contentious. The Monday deadline is not a great surprise, since it has been speculated on for the past week. And the situation remains tentative, with the Senate side saying nothing specific about its plans.

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