The clock is ticking. Thirty-nine days remain until the current farm bill expires.

Despite this – and the fact that merciless drought continues across much of the nation – there seems to be few concrete answers about what Congress will do to address the situation when lawmakers return from August recess.

The Senate, said North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad this week, “carefully negotiated a new five year bill that enjoyed broad bipartisan support. We are prepared to negotiate a compromise with the House, but before we are able to do that, they need to reverse course and make the bill a priority.”

With a national election season in full swing there is little chance for House farm bill action to occur soon.

“There’s no indication that the House will be able to pass a standalone farm bill anytime soon,” says Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI). “At least it won’t pass one before November, it appears.”

While it may be a while before a farm bill is earnestly tackled by the full Congress, a new FAPRI study (see study here) compares the programs already proposed by both the Senate and House.

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