UPDATED: House leaders look to farm bill extension

Despite considerable progress being made, Lucas looks to one-month extension with hopes of January farm bill passage.

***This version includes updated comments from Senate Agriculture Committee Chariman Debbie Stabenow.*****

Delays in receiving final cost estimates on a farm bill compromise left agriculture committee principals forced to look to an one-month extension on the farm bill, rather than passing a bill before the House adjourns at the end of this week.

In a statement Tuesday, House Agriculture Committee chairman Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) said great progress has been made and productive meetings continue. However, there are still some outstanding issues that the principals are addressing.

"I am confident we'll work through them and finish a farm bill in January," Lucas said.

"Concurrent with our ongoing discussions this week, I will file legislation to extend the current farm bill through January to allow us to finish our work without the threat that permanent law will be implemented," he added. "Having this option on the table is the responsible thing to do in light of our tight deadline."

Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) remains opposed to an extension as it could allow direct payments to continue for another year. "That's absolutely unacceptable and will not pass the Senate," she said.

"Chairman Lucas and I are working in good faith to produce a conference report that's good for farmers, ranchers and families," Stabenow added. "I urge House leadership to keep the House in session next week so we can get this done by the end of the year."

The National Farmers Union agreed, saying it continues to urge Congress to remain in session until the President signs the farm bill into law this year. "Progress is being made in every meeting and this is the only way the bill will be finished," said Chandler Goule, NFU vice president of government relations.

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