New US farm bill won't be passed until January, but chairman of House Agriculture Committee says he'll file legislation to extend current bill through end of January

WASHINGTON , December 11, 2013 () – A new federal farm bill will not be passed until next month, but the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said Tuesday he would file legislation to extend the current bill through the end of January.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, a Republican from Oklahoma, offered his comments in a late afternoon release from the committee.

Sixth District Rep. Bob Goodlatte said earlier in the day during an interview in his Washington office that an extension of the current bill was possible.

Goodlatte, a member and former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said there would be a "a dramatic increase'' in milk prices unless a new farm bill was passed or the current one extended.

In his statement, Lucus said "we have made great progress on the farm bill and continue to have productive meetings." The committee chairman said he is confident a new bill will be passed by Congress in January.

A conference committee of members of Congress and the Senate has been meeting to iron out differences in the farm bill. The conference committee met Tuesday.

One of the obstacles has been the amount of spending on food stamps, a program that accounts for about 70 percent of the annual $100 billion in farm bill funding.

According the House Agriculture Committee release, the 2002 farm bill was extended six times until the the 2008 bill was passed.

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