Peterson Takes New Approach to Spur Farm Bill Action

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson reportedly has a new strategy for getting a farm bill through Congress this year. The Hill reports Peterson called Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week to suggest the department should begin the process of implementing the 1949-era dairy policies that would take effect October 1 if Congress fails to act on the farm bill before the current extension expires at the end of the month. Actually - Peterson suggested they start putting the framework together to implement the permanent law on dairy January 1. Peterson's hope is that affected industry groups will put the pressure on House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders to enact a bill that will prevent milk prices from skyrocketing. He believes this strategy - which he says has the backing of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - can compel a deal on the farm bill. The Hill reports House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas has also said that Vilsack should start to prepare for the milk spike. However - even if Cantor can't get the votes needed to cut billions from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Lucas said a farm bill conference committee would proceed. According to Lucas - a vote on that bill - up or down - enables them to move forward with the conference committee process.

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