|Roberts, left, with Stabenow|
The Farm Bill has been in place since the 1930s, and has sustained farmers through fluctuations in commodity prices, yields and weather. Every five years commodity groups, representing growers of rice, soybeans, wheat, cotton, peanuts and corn, lobby Congress for support. But this year, the bill is stuck "in no-man's land as the budget-and-tax war rages on Capitol Hill," Dan Freedman of the San Antonio Express-News writes.
The fight over the Farm Bill is causing "fissures among conservative Republicans," Freedman writes. Tea Party advocates see the bill as violating conservative and free market principles, spending too much on food stamps; House Speaker John Boehner has said it contains "Soviet-style" provisions on dairy subsidies. But farm-state Republicans "see Farm Bill spending as a wise investment in the rural economy and U.S. food security," Freedman writes.
Expert sources on the House and Senate version of the bill told Agri-Pulse it wouldn't be hard to mesh the two versions, but Roberts said last year he wasn't a fan of the Senate version. "Roberts seemed to express a more conciliatory tone during a meeting between Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Stabenow, [House Ag Committee Chairman] Frank Lucas and House Ag Committee ranking member Collin Peterson last week, when he said the group reviewed Farm Bill challenges without negotiating any specific provisions," Agri-Pulse reports.
Agri-Pulse is available by subscription only, but a free trial can be accessed here.