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Agriculture

Kansas Senator Wants Farm Bill Talks To Resume

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Frank Morris
/
Harvest Public Media
Western Kansas farmer John Thaemert stands in a field of parched wheat. The plants would reach his waist by now in a normal year.

Republican Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts says he isn't satisfied with the pace of negotiations on the farm bill. The legislation is in a conference committee where negotiators will try to work out differences between versions passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

The current farm bill has already expired, which means some programs will end later this month and prices for commodities like milk will go up if there isn't some kind of agreement.

Sen. Roberts says the U.S. House and Senate may be divided on issues such as food stamp funding, but the process needs to move forward so farmers can plan for the future. Closed-door meetings have resumed in Washington between a handful of members of the conference committee. But Roberts says he wants public meetings of the full committee to continue.

"We have to work it out, and if we can't do that, shame on us," he says. "I'm not happy with the current farm bill, but I do know that in the interest of certainty and predictability, farmers need to know this."

The U.S. House of Representatives is already back in session. The Senate will reconvene next week, which will likely be the earliest that the full conference committee can meet.

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