Facing one of the toughest challenges of her career, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) on Wednesday expressed optimism that she will be able to save the 2012 farm bill from defeat on the Senate floor.

“I am very confident that we will continue to move forward and get this done,” she said. “Failure to act would be a real blow to the economy.”

Stabenow, who is running for reelection, said she and committee ranking member Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) have made significant progress in whittling down the 247 amendments filed to the farm bill so that the most important can be debated.