Delegates to the National Farmers Union's annual meeting in Las Vegas called on the Bush administration and congressional leaders to resolve their differences so a new farm bill can be enacted immediately.

If the House and Senate and Bush administration representatives can't make that happen in a timely manner, the delegates asked that permanent law be allowed to take effect rather than Congress passing another extension of the 2002 farm bill.

“This is crunch time,” said National Farmers Union President Tom Buis. “In the last year, the House and Senate have both passed very good farm bills that will benefit all Americans. It is time for the administration to put aside philosophical considerations and negotiate a bill with the Congress.”

Buis said the reason for the broad support in Congress for both versions of the bill is because of the increases in spending for nutrition, conservation, renewable energy, specialty crop and rural development programs. Without these increases, it would be difficult to pass an extension of the 2002 bill.

“Both the House and Senate bills make record investments in rural America while maintaining a strong safety net for producers,” Buis said.