When you last heard from me, I wrote that there was a deal on the farm bill. Then I proceeded to go into hiding for two weeks. Perhaps you thought I was on a beach somewhere, propping up my feet and *not* thinking about farms. (Wow, that brought back a flashback of when we were in Puerto Rico and I really was thinking about the farm bill on the beach … I then proceeded to become very depressed.)

I have not been at the beach. I have been … drumroll please … back in the hallway! Outside the closed-door farm bill negotiations! Which continued!

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) — who is really fun to cover, by the bye — said the farm bill has been like “whack a mole.” Every time they make a decision on something, three other things pop up. He also said he would like to practice target shooting on the Senate, but I am pretty sure he was kidding about that.

So, I’ve pretty much given up my humanity for the past two weeks in order to stand in hallways and write the same “almost there” farm bill story, over and over again.

But now lawmakers really *do* have a deal. I think. For now, at least.

This is what Peterson said yesterday:

“We finished the bill yesterday and like every time we finish it, it didn’t really get finished, so we came back and finished it again today. But this time it is done.”

This time it is done, people.

And I actually believe them, because I happen to know that Collin Peterson’s Minnesota turkey hunting license starts this weekend, and the man is not going to be in the Capitol.

But lest you think my farm bill days are over, let me tell you this: President Bush has threatened to veto the bill. So now I get to write millions of “what about a veto?” stories.