Chairwoman Stabenow said she is continuing to negotiate with Southern Senators and that she and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas (R-Okla.), are “good friends” and noted that they worked together on the proposal that went to the Committee on Deficit Reduction last year.

That proposal included a target price and counter-cyclical option, which Chairman Lucas has said he intends to include in the House bill that he expects to consider in his committee in June.

“We’ll end up compromising,” Chairwoman Stabenow said about her relationship with Lucas and the Senate and House bills. House Agriculture General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee Chairman Conaway (R-Texas) said on NPR that the House bill “will make the safety net fair across regions.”

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its official score of S. 3240. CBO estimates that enactment would bring total direct spending for USDA programs covered under the bill to $969 billion over 2013-2022 — $23.6 billion less than would be spent with a continuation of programs under current law.

The commodity title would repeal most current agricultural price and income support programs for crop and dairy producers, and CBO estimates that federal spending on commodity programs would total $43.2 billion over 2013-2022 — or $19.8 billion less than expected if current law was continued.

CBO estimates that the new Agriculture Risk Coverage payments “would average $3.2 billion per year; however, actual payments from year to year would probably vary considerably from that expected average payment.”

The bill also would authorize appropriations over 2013-2017 for existing and new USDA programs involving research and education, nutrition, trade promotion, rural development, credit assistance, forestry and conservation initiatives. CBO estimates that implementing those provisions would cost about $28 billion over the next five years, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.

The CBO report is at www.agri-pulse.com/uploaded/CBO_Pub_S3240.pdf.