This week the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry and the House Committee on Agriculture both voted to approve and send their versions of a 5-year Farm Bill to their respective floors. Debate on the Farm Bill in the House is expected sometime in June following the Memorial Day recess. The Senate is expected to consider their bill on the floor next week. Both bills include many of the priorities for state foresters, including language to clarify the role of the U.S. Forest Service in supporting mobilization of state resources to wildland fires in other states.
Assuming that both chambers approve their respective bills, they will still have substantial differences to reconcile. Even in light of these differences, it seems many Farm Bill followers in Washington are optimistic that a bill can be approved by both chambers and a conference compromise reached in time to send the bill to the President before the expiration of the current one-year Farm Bill extension in September.