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National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) reports:

The next two weeks could be critical to the effort to pass new, long-term farm policy this year, with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) saying this week the Senate Agriculture Committee could consider a bill as early as next week and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas planning a mark-up on May 15.

Neither timeline has been confirmed, but Hill staff and the ag community have been working diligently to gear up for the formal legislative process.

Several sticking points remain, most of which center around the budget.

Lucas said to reporters this week that he plans to offer a bill cutting $38 billion from baseline spending, including $20 billion in cuts to the food assistance programs that make up 80 percent of the bill's total spending and $18 billion in cuts to the other parts of the bill, which make up 20 percent of the bill's total spending.

Details are not yet available for total projected savings from the Senate version the bill.

Changed assumptions in the newest federal budget estimates reduced the projected savings of last year's Senate-passed and House Agriculture Committee-passed bills, meaning lawmakers will have to find both more and new sources of savings in this year's efforts.

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