Yes, Virginia, there will be a Farm Bill.
And it will be a 5-year bill that provides a strong crop insurance safety net and it will pass this session of Congress.
That's the consensus put forth by top Agriculture Committee representatives from both the House and Senate in meetings with North American Agricultural Journalists in Washington, D.C., last week.
Rep. Michael Conaway of Texas stood in for Chairman Frank Lucas who was tied up in meetings.
Conaway said he is sure there will be a 5-year bill and it will pass before Sept. 30 when the extension of the last bill expires.
"I think we will see a safety net that relies heavily on crop insurance," he said. "What we want is credit for the big cuts to crop insurance that have already been made."
Rep. Michael Conaway of Texas said he is sure there will be a 5-year bill and it will pass before Sept. 30.
Conaway said one of his "best legislative days" in Congress was the passage of the Farm Bill out of committee last year.
"It proved to me that if you stay at the table long enough you can get the job done," he said. "I can't say enough about the work of Congressman Lucas in getting that done."
House ranking member Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota told NAAJ members that there is more will to bring a bill to the House floor this year than there was in 2012, when the best that Congress could wrangle was a one-year extension of the 2006 bill.
Peterson said the common idea that it was disagreement over the nutrition title, which controls money for food stamps and school lunches, that held up the bill is false.
In reality, he said, there was a great deal of support for putting off the bill in belief that the 2012 elections would produce a Republican-controlled Senate and a Romney presidency that would be conducive to a broad rewrite of the bill.
"Well, that didn't work out too well," Peterson said. "Now, there's more pressure to actually get a bill through the House."