Farm group leaders and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said this week it is still, in Lucas’ words, “theoretically” possible for Congress to approve new farm and food legislation before the 2008 farm bill expires on Sept. 30.

On Thursday, agricultural policy publication Agri-Pulse published an interview in which he reassured readers there would be a new farm bill, though the timeline is still uncertain.

Lucas said he remains focused on passage of new legislation before the 2008 law expires, a similar message heard from Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) this week during the Republican National Convention

On Tuesday, members of seven groups participating in the Farm Bill Now coalition held a press conference at the Farm Progress show in Boone, Iowa.

They focused on the need to achieve new, long-term farm policy before existing law expires. They also spoke to the positive economic impact of a strong farm economy and the certainty provided by the farm bill in an inherently uncertain industry.

“Agriculture is one of the few bright spots in the American economy,” National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Pam Johnson said during the press conference.

“Naysayers might suggest a new bill can’t be completed in time, but we are here to say it can be – and to call on Congress to pull together to finish their job. This is a bill that will impact every American and a bill that needs to be done now.”

This week, the number of national groups signing on to the Farm Bill Now message topped 50. Additional groups are welcome to join the effort, outlined in a statement at www.farmbillnow.com. Individuals can also throw their names behind the message by using the website’s resources to contact their Members of Congress on social media or by signing onto a petition available there