Congressional leaders continued their work this week to hammer out an agreement on a 2013 farm bill, with Democratic ag leaders in both chambers saying they hope to have a conference bill by Thanksgiving.

The conference committee met officially for the first time last week, allowing the 41 Members who are charged with finding an as-of-yet-elusive compromise to make their opening statements and offers.

 

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As was expected, negotiations are now happening in private, with discussions led by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who is also on the pending federal budget conference committee; Senate Ag Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.); House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.); and House Ag Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).

Both Peterson and Stabenow said in the press this week they want to get a deal substantially done before the Thanksgiving break, which would give it the optimum chance of actually being completed before year’s end.

That speed of progress, though, is predicated on compromises on several sticky issues, including Title I programs and nutrition spending.

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