Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts Leaders Praise Congressman Frank Lucas for Farm Bill LeadershipWed, 30 Nov 2011 12:50:24 CST
Leaders of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) today expressed appreciation to Congressman Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee for his continued leadership in attempting to craft a Farm Bill under difficult circumstances. Joe Parker, President of the OACD said that the conservation districts in Oklahoma especially appreciate the nonpartisan, policy driven approach being taken by Mr. Lucas and his Senate counterpart, Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan in putting together language to continue the work of Conservation in America.
"Now that the smoke has cleared from the wreckage of the 'Super Committee' we want to express our appreciation and support for the work done so far by Chairman Lucas in attempting to draft a Farm Bill under extremely challenging circumstances," Parker said. "At a time when many of the folks in Washington seem to be more ideologically or politically driven it's refreshing to see folks on both sides of the isle working together on a major piece of legislation that in the end, effects every man, woman and child in the country. We feel both Chairman Lucas and Senator Stabenow deserve a big thank you for what they have tried to do and we want to encourage them to keep working together for an effective Farm Bill and a strong Conservation title."
Earlier this fall, Chairman Lucas in partnership with Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Stabenow had agreed to cut Federal Agriculture spending by over $23 billion as part of the overall effort to reduce the Federal Deficit. To implement these cuts, Lucas and Stabenow had attempted to include in the report of the U.S. Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (better known as the 'Super Committee') language to re-write the Farm Bill. Working in a bi-partisan fashion the two leaders crafted a proposal that according to Parker included a workable Conservation title that would continue the work of helping farmers, ranchers and other landowners protect the nation's soil, water, air and wildlife habitats through voluntary, locally-led means. With the failure of the Super Committee to complete its work of crafting an overall deficit reduction package, the proposed cuts to USDA and the new farm bill language crafted in part by Chairman Lucas was put on hold.
According to OACD Executive Director Clay Pope, even with this set back, the work of Lucas in negotiating this compromise legislation in the current Washington political climate needs to be recognized and applauded by anyone interested in the future of Rural America.
"Congressman Lucas did yeoman's work on the report to the Super Committee," Pope said. "His leadership in bringing together a Farm Bill crafted to not only help balance the budget, but do it in a way that allows the work of producing the food and fiber needed to feed and clothe the world was a great achievement. The language put together by him and his Senate counterpart would allow us to continue protecting natural resources on working lands through voluntary means that work with folks instead of against them. Hopefully this work will serve as a template as the Farm Bill debate moves forward from here and the approach taken by Chairman Lucas and Chairman Stabenow will serve as an example for other members of Congress on how to work together and get things done. We need more folks willing to sit down and work for the good of the country. Both committee Chairs deserve a thank you from Rural America and we are extremely proud that we get to claim Mr. Lucas as one of our own."
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