a long row to hoe

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a long row to hoe

A particularly difficult or problematic task, situation, or set of circumstances to contend with or confront. Immigration reform was one of the new president's primary campaign promises, but it will likely prove a long row to hoe, given the deep divisions in congress. I know finishing this thesis will be a long row to hoe, but I'm actually looking forward to the challenge.
See also: hoe, long, row