House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, Minn., and ranking member Bob Goodlatte, Virg., and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, Iowa, and ranking member Saxby Chambliss, Ga., met behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon to continue trying to decide on funding levels for the farm bill. Realizing they would not meet the original extension deadline of March 15, they've agreed in principle for a farm bill extension until April 18.
Harkin said he expects to move the extension on the Senate floor as early as Tuesday night. It could move on the House floor by Wednesday. Meanwhile Harkin said they are narrowing the gap on the spending level, but are still trying to find ways to near the $10 billion over the baseline funding level mark. Harkin said there was a "lively discussion" on rebalancing loan rates and target prices. Congressional principles again will meet Wednesday. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer told reporters Tuesday morning, high ranking White House officials also met behind closed doors to discuss sticking points on the farm bill.