Negotiations need to be wrapped up Monday or Tuesday if the farm bill is going to pass before the end of the year. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson made that point Saturday during stops at the Minnesota Farm Bureau and Minnesota Farmers Union conventions. What’s holding up the process? “It’s a moving target. I think we have nutrition worked out, but then it was CSP, then it was payment limits and then it was forestry.” Peterson said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway dropped a controversial food stamp provision earlier this week. Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow is apparently holding up approval to gain leverage. Peterson cited a sugar provision he can’t support. To operate at full capacity, Michigan sugar processors are importing Canadian beets and Stabenow wants those imports to be eligible for the federal sugar allotment and marketing loan provisions. If the farm bill isn’t completed during the lame duck session, Peterson is prepared to bring it up for a vote in January. “I want the (agriculture) committee organized as soon as possible so I can take the bill we have now, pass it in the House and send it over. Even if Stabenow doesn’t have everything she wants, let her vote against it if that’s what she wants to do.” One way or another, Peterson is confident the farm bill will get done.
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