Farmers looking for some certainty in federal farm policy will have to wait until January.
That's the word from lawmakers on Capitol Hill who now say it will take until next month to finish the farm bill. The House of Representatives wraps up for the year on Friday.
Talks have been hung up on the food stamp program, which makes up about 70 percent of the farm bill's overall spending of about $100 billion a year. Republicans in the House would cut far more than Democrats in the Senate.
But U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee, said lead negotiators from the two chambers are nearing agreement on food stamps, on commodities and conservation.
"We're very close," said Peterson, a Democrat who represents Minnesota's 7th District. "We just need to nail it down."
One concern for many consumers is that, without a farm bill, milk prices could rise due to outdated price controls kicking in.
House Republicans say they may offer a short term extension of the current farm bill through January to prevent such as price hike.
But Peterson said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack can prevent an immediate jump in dairy prices.
"Realistically, he's not going to do anything in the month of January anyway," Peterson said. "So it's not going to change anything in January. So if we get this thing done when we come back in January, there's no need to have any kind of extension for any reason."