The farm economy has enjoyed boom times since 2006. Corn, wheat and soybean prices are down sharply from the records set in 2012, but still run at historically high levels.
An extension would avoid the "dairy cliff," a potential doubling of dairy prices in January that is tied to the return to a 1949 "permanent" farm law. Stabenow said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had assured her there would be no harm if the new farm bill was enacted in early January. A reversion to elements of the permanent law will not happen on Jan. 1.
Lucas said he would file a bill on Tuesday for a short-term extension of the 2008 law "to cover all bases" in case there was yet another a slowdown in progress on the new farm bill.
House Republicans have proposed tighter rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. Their plan would disqualify about 8 percent of recipients. Democrats say that cut is too steep.
A new study by researchers at Columbia University released this week showed that government programs such as food stamps and unemployment insurance have significantly reduced the U.S. poverty rate in recent decades.