Time is ticking as Congress hammers out the details on the next farm bill, and with only a handful of working days left on the schedule in 2013, American Farm Bureau public policy director Dale Moore says the outlook of it happening this year is tenuous.

Will Santa bring a farm bill this Christmas?In an interview with the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Newsline, Moore explains that it’s been a long three years of waiting for the new farm bill.

“From the standpoint of time running out this year, we’re back to hoping and praying that we can get something done, if not before the 13th then hopefully the House and Senate go into a little bit of overtime before this year is out and maybe we’ll see something get done before Christmas gets here,” he said.

However, Moore is skeptical that Congress will get it done before the current bill expires at the end of the year.

“Half the questions I get from reporters these days focus on, well is the farm bill going to be part of the budget negotiations? We don’t have a clue,” Moore  said. “We keep hearing that, but we also are hopeful that the farm bill itself will get wrapped up this year. That’s looking dicey.”

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U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R.Okla.), who chairs the House-Senate negotiations, admitted for the first time that the farm bill may not be ready for a vote before year's end, even though a broad framework might be hammered out this month, according to Reuters in an article here.

“We're not quite there yet," Lucas said.  "It is possible to have an understanding, a set of principles laid out, a text that the lawyers could work on with the economists to complete so we'd be back next January to finish the final job.”

On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) urged lawmakers to pass a one-month farm bill extension.

"I have not seen any real progress on the farm bill. So if we have got to pass a one-month extension of the farm bill, I think we will be prepared to do that," he said.

See, “Boehner says expiring US farm bill should get 1-month extension.”