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Shutdown over; lawmakers to go back to work on farm bill

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With the dispute that caused a federal government shutdown out of the way lawmakers in Washington can get back to work on a farm bill.

The bill expired Sept. 30, and negotiations between the House and Senate have not been able to get going with the budget impasse that resulted in the shutdown.

Agweek reports that talks could likely begin the week of Oct. 28. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow says the bill may become part of a larger, long-term budget deal.

The Associated Press reports that President Barack Obama included the farm bill as one of his priorities on a trimmed down agenda that he announced on Thursday.

The impasse on the farm bill is centered around cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The House version of the bill proposes to trim $4 billion dollars from SNAP, while the Senate is proposing cuts of just $400 million.

Politico reports that the four top negotiators on a farm bill, including U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, met on Wednesday and urged staff to step up discussions on the commodity title as the full House-Senate Conference Committee could begin work during the last week of October.

According to the report Peterson said that negotiations on a farm bill could go either way at this point. He said he will be as helpful as he can be to get it done.

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