Those of you who enjoyed P.J. O’Rourke’s 2007 assessment of the federal farm bill debate might appreciate the efforts of some conservative groups to open up the latest discussion of federal legislation targeting agriculture. The group R Street offers the following information.

The R Street Institute today joined with 20 other conservative and libertarian groups to urge U.S. House Speaker John Boehner preserve an open process on forthcoming agriculture legislation to allow consideration of amendments that will better protect taxpayers.

The groups praised Boehner and House leaders for separating the agriculture and nutrition portions of the Farm Bill, thereby enabling members to make substantial reforms to each program. However, the point of that separation will be moot if, as rumored, the legislation is considered under a closed rule that prevents any amendments from being heard.

The letter also notes that agriculture titles in the House Farm Bill, which failed to pass on the floor last month, fall short even of the Senate bill in several key respects, such as failing to include a means test.

“We urge you to live up to your commitments to robust debate by ensuring that any agriculture or nutrition bill is considered in an open process,” the groups wrote to Boehner. “A closed rule on farm legislation would run counter to those commitments and produce bad policy.”

In addition to R Street, other signatories include American Commitment, American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Individual Freedom, Club for Growth, Competitive Enterprise Institute, ConservAmerica, Cost of Government Center, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, FreedomWorks, Heritage Action for America, Keep Food Legal, Let Freedom Ring, National Taxpayers Union, Rappahannock Ventures, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Taxpayers Protection Alliance and Becky Norton Dunlop, former secretary of natural resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

One suspects that these groups hope to help taxpayers avoid facing the same predicament as O’Rourke’s cow.