U.S. farm bill compromise in the works to avert ‘dairy cliff’

     U.S. Sen. Bob Casey used his visit to the Pennsylvania Farm Show to rustle up interest in farm bill negotiations in Congress. (Mary Wilson/for NewsWorks)

    U.S. Sen. Bob Casey used his visit to the Pennsylvania Farm Show to rustle up interest in farm bill negotiations in Congress. (Mary Wilson/for NewsWorks)

    U.S. Sen. Bob Casey used his visit to the Pennsylvania Farm Show to rustle up interest in farm bill negotiations in Congress.

    The farm bill expires every five years, but last year, Congress could only muster a short-term extension of certain parts.

    The measure sets food and agriculture policy across the country — including the food stamps program, which helps poor families buy groceries.

    A bipartisan conference of House and Senate lawmakers is hashing out a compromise on the program’s funding, Casey said Monday.

    “You have a range of proposals from having no cuts, to having in the Senate farm bill about $4 billion in cuts, and then all the way to the other end of the scale, which was Republicans in the House insisting on $39 billion to $40 billion in cuts,” Casey said.

    A compromise may advance in the next couple months, he said. And he remains optimistic that it will.

    If it doesn’t, the country risks going over the so-called dairy cliff — a spike in the price of milk, which is just another policy feature tied up in the farm bill.

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