(April 4, 9:52 a.m.) As lawmakers faced an April 18 deadline, finding agreement on money issues continued to plague farm bill discussions.

House Ways and Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., has indicated he wants more funds for nutrition in the farm bill priorities, said Tara Smith, lobbyist for the Washington, D.C.-based American Farm Bureau Federation.

Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, said he had heard negotiators were getting close to final specialty crop allocations.

However, those specific numbers won’t mean anything unless broader agreement is found between House and Senate lawmakers on funding and reform issues, he said.

“The House Speaker (Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.) has not been willing to appoint the conference members until there is an agreement on the offsets,” Guenther said April 3.

Guenther said if the farm bill limps to April 18 without real momentum, the White House may refuse to support another 30-day extension and demand a two-year extension of the 2002 farm bill.