The 2002 farm bill, which funds farm subsidy programs, is set to expire in 2007. But many farmers want Congress to keep it in place while negotiators pursue global trade talks at the World Trade Organization.
"I just don't think that we should be negotiating both of these at the same time," said Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo. "My preference would be to extend the farm bill for one or two years."
That view is not shared by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, who said last week he opposes any extension because it might threaten the success of the latest WTO negotiations, known as the Doha Round.
Addressing an agricultural forum last week, Johanns said, "...such an extension in my judgment is the wrong course for America."