All three of those senators voted against the final bill, along with Roberts and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who sits on the agriculture panel but did not attend the meeting.
The House bill up Wednesday would cut five times as much domestic food aid as the Senate bill in that chamber in an effort to appease conservatives in that chamber. That bill would cut $2 billion annually from the program and rewrite policy that allows some people who already receive benefits to automatically receive food stamps.
Balancing the cutbacks important to conservatives with maintaining the generous safety net that farmers have relied on for decades will be key to getting the bill passed before current farm programs expire Sept. 30.
This is the third year in a row that farm-state lawmakers have tried to push the bill through. Though it passed the Senate, the House declined to take up the bill last year after conservatives in that chamber objected to the bill's cost and insisted on higher cuts to food stamps.
In 2011, Stabenow and Lucas attempted to include the bill as part of the congressional supercommittee's effort to come up with a long-term deficit reduction plan. When that effort failed, farm bill action stalled until the next year.
House leaders have given supporters more optimism this year as they have said they plan to put the measure on the floor this summer.
Longtime critics of farm policy say that even with the belt-tightening, the legislation is still a giveaway to the largest farms which tend to receive the largest shares of the subsidies.
"It's very disappointing in a time of runaway deficits and record farm income," says Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group.
Farm groups defend the policy by using last year's drought as an example. Despite widespread losses, federally subsidized crop insurance helped farmers recover.
The bill would also limit payments to the wealthiest farmers and require farmers who receive crop insurance to comply with certain soil and water conservation requirements.