House Ag Chair Michael Conaway and the GOP conference committee members have to decide whether or not they’ll give some ground on some of the biggest sticking points of the farm bill debate in order to get a bill passed this year. Those disputes include conservation, commodity policy, and work requirements for SNAP program recipients. Reaching a deal while they still hold the majority in the House of Representatives would help Republicans reach some of their goals before they lose their leverage.
House Democrats could choose to start from scratch next year when they assume control, which the industry might not want to see. It’s possible that Democrats may pull the farm bill to the left with amendments to rein in subsidies on wealthy farmers or adjust federal crop insurance. Ranking member Collin Peterson of Minnesota won a close race on election day and is expected to retake the gavel as chair of the House Ag Committee. Peterson has said he would prefer to not start over and write a new farm bill.