The House and Senate bills also differ on how subsidies are structured for various crops. Commodity groups for specific crops and lawmakers who represent their constituencies have battled over how those subsidies should work in an environment where there is less money to go around.
This year's farm bill situation is unusual. The last four farm bills — passed in 2008, 2002, 1996 and 1990 — were all passed prior to elections with rural politics driving the equation. This year politics had the opposite effect as food stamps got in the way.
Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said the results of the Nov. 6 election should be good news for those who want to see a farm bill passed, since the balance of power stayed the same.
"The outcome removed any sort of political rationale for a delay," Johnson said. "The political argument I think is gone. Not to say it will be easy."
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