Farm Bill

AP/Toby Talbot

This could be a key week for the future of the 2013 Farm Bill in Congress.

The U.S. House is expected to vote on a new dairy program that’s designed to stabilize milk prices for dairy farmers.

The vote in the House is important because the U.S. Senate has already given its approval to a 5 year Farm Bill that includes the new dairy program.  House approval this week would make it very likely that the program will be part of the final legislation.

Congress has been unable to agree on the provisions of a new Farm Bill for more than a year.

The Farm Bill, which has passed the Senate and will be taken up by the House of Representatives this month, reduces federal spending on agriculture by $23 billion over the next five years by goal by eliminating most commodity subsidy programs and cutting the Food Stamp program by $4 billion.

Senator Patrick Leahy says the bill includes an important new pricing system for dairy farmers.

Senator Patrick Leahy is optimistic that a new Farm Bill, one that makes big changes in national dairy policies, will win broad bi-partisan support in the Senate. However, the outlook in the House is less certain.

For months, there’s been no Farm Bill in place because of major differences between the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. Now, there’s a new effort in Congress to pass this legislation.

By a vote of 15 to 5, the Senate Agriculture committee has given its approval to a bill that restructures current dairy policies.