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Published January 06, 2014, 05:39 PM

The Farm Report: Update on farm bill

There hasn't been a new farm bill in two years as legislators have exceeded multiple deadlines. But many of them are hopeful that a new bill will be passed before the end of January.

By: Victor Correa, WDAZ

There hasn't been a new farm bill in two years as legislators have exceeded multiple deadlines. But many of them are hopeful that a new bill will be passed before the end of January.

Heitkamp: I anticipate that clearly by the end of January that we're going to have a farm bill.

Legislators have been promising a farm bill for quite a while now.

Heitkamp: The past farm bill was extended for a year, we've now exceeded that extension and we're going into the next year and if we're going to get certainty to our producers we absolutely need to get this farm bill.

The original deadline was September of 2012, it was extended to 2013, that was missed. Then lawmakers were hopeful to have one by Thanksgiving, then one by the end of the year and also the government shutdown didn't help matters.

Heitkamp: I think that coming out of the shutdown made everyone realize, that that was not a very attractive picture of the United States Congress that we need to get things, I think that provided some momentum that you're seeing right now in this push to the end.

Local lawmakers are hopeful this new self-imposed deadline of a farm bill before the end of January isn't missed.

Hoeven: I'm trying to get a vote in the conference committee to get a final compromise and move this bill to the house and the senate floor.

Lawmakers know this needs to get passed, but there are still some issues that need to be resolved.

Hoeven: There's still issues we're working on in the commodity title conservation, definition of actively engaged in farming,any number of things, food stamps.

Heitkamp: There's a different belief about what nutrition programs should be reduced and during this process of debate nutrition's already been reduced by about 11 billion.

But compromises seem to be sprouting as debates continue.

Heitkamp: It has to happen or we're going to have old farm policy reinstated.

One more missed deadline and the farm bill will revert to a 1940s bill, which could have people see sky rocketing milk prices to almost 8 dollars per gallon. But local lawmakers are confident that farmers and the nation will be able to breathe a sigh of relief soon.

Heitkamp: This is about food security for the united states of america whether it is a crop insurance program for our farmers or whether its a food stamp program for people who are a little down on their luck.

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