The 2014 farm bill will expire on Sunday. Latest reports indicate that none of the 12 titles of the farm bill have been resolved. Although Conference leadership expresses their desire to finalize the farm bill in October in order to quickly approve a final agreement in November, without a final deadline imperative there is little possibility of resolution by then.
The main issues remain centered around the commodity, conservation, and nutrition titles, with the nutrition title being the largest obstacle. Budgetary issues, such as spending offsets needed to provide funding to other areas, complicate all these issue areas.
In the commodity title, a House provision to end payments on unplanted base acres remains a difficult issue. Consolidation of programs in the conservation title is encountering opposition. Of course, disagreement over work requirements in SNAP is the most politically charged between Democrats and Republicans.
The expiration of the farm bill will have little impact on the operation of the commodity programs. There are other programs, lacking a funding baseline, that are affected. Conference leadership is discussing implementation of these “orphan” programs with USDA in the hope of utilizing discretionary authority to minimize disruption.