With federal spending and the debt ceiling dominating all action (and inaction) on Capitol Hill, the farm bill debate has been publicly set aside even while private negotiations and conversations continue.

The Senate has reappointed its farm bill conferees, while the House has yet to name its negotiators. Word is that discussions among staff and ag leaders are continuing with sticking points on the commodity and nutrition titles and an eye toward hitching a ride on a larger budget deal if that path becomes available.

A one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Oct. 1 along with government funding, leading farmers and consumers alike into a never-never land of no farm policy. This has had an immediate effect on some programs but will become more critical at the first of the year and as winter crops, including wheat, are harvested.