Similarly upbeat, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “Senators worked across the aisle to overwhelmingly pass bipartisan farm bills the last two years in a row. If that same bipartisanship endures in the conference committee, we will cut tens of billions of dollars in unnecessary spending, make major reforms to improve crop insurance and strengthen other risk management tools, streamline and strengthen conservation and nutrition programs, and create jobs by investing in rural America.”

Among advocacy groups commenting on the farm bill progress, Danny Murphy, American Soybean Association president, called on the conferees to take into account recent input provided by the ASA on several key issues, including the bill’s commodity, trade, and other titles. “ASA has given well-researched and well-documented feedback on multiple provisions in each chamber’s bill,” said Murphy, a Canton, Miss., producer. “Each input has been made with the end goal of protecting and advancing a dynamic soybean industry and a larger agriculture sector that has been among the brightest of bright spots as our economy continues to recover. Soy is the country’s largest farm export and second largest crop, and the policies established by the conference in the final bill must not lead to skewed planting decisions, production distortions and potential trade challenges.”

Murphy added: “We’re well past the eleventh hour. The lack of any current farm legislation places farmers at a huge risk, and it’s time our lawmakers come together and get this thing done. This is a great next step, but there is much work left to do.”

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 Coming up with acceptable dairy policy changes has also been hard for Congress.The National Milk Producers FederationJim Mulhernsaid, “NMPF will be working in the coming days to remind both the Senate and House conferees of the importance of a balanced and cost-effective dairy program. The Senate’s bipartisan Dairy Security Act is the only program designed to both help farmers when they need it most, while also limiting taxpayers’ liability through its market stabilization mechanism. Without the market stabilization program, farmers will continue to suffer prolonged periods of poor margins, while taxpayers will subsidize artificially-low milk prices.

“The Dairy Security Act protects farmers of all sizes, allows for growth, and keeps taxpayer costs in check. The alternative is an irresponsible budget-buster. We strongly encourage the agriculture conferees to support the dairy title language in the Senate farm bill, and to include its provisions in the final package.”