Leaders of major farm and commodity groups will huddle Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington, D.C. to learn more about the Congressional timeline for writing a new farm bill. They'll also try to put an end to their very public feud over safety net priorities.
The meeting is expected to draw leaders from the American Farm Bureau, National Farmers Union and commodity organizations representing growers of corn, cotton, rice, soybean, wheat and minor oilseeds. USA Rice Federation lobbyist Reece Langley organized the get-together.
"The expectation going in, at least for me and our organization, is at the minimum to try and come out of that meeting with each group having a better understanding of where their colleagues are coming from," Langley said. "And also a better appreciation for it and hopefully an agreement or willingness to try to contain and work out any of our differences among the groups and not air those differences in public."
It'll be the first time these groups have met formally since the failed attempt to pass a farm bill through the Super Committee process, an exercise that created deep divisions among commodities. Rice, sorghum and peanut groups favor a safety net approach that includes both higher target prices and revenue protection coverage. Corn, soy and wheat groups vehemently oppose the target price option.
"We are willing to listen and try to find common ground," Wellman said. "And work through this for the best of agriculture, although I don't know what that answer may be at this point in time."
Steve Wellman is president of the American Soybean Association and will represent ASA at this week's meeting in Washington, D.C. He says that they are comfortable with the revenue approach that they came forward with and that it has support and makes good sense in a lot of areas.
In addition to hearing from House and Senate Ag staffers on plans to restart the farm bill debate, the ag groups will receive a briefing on the WTO impacts of potential safety net changes from USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber.