House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas Updates Ron Hays on 2012 Farm Bill EffortsSun, 12 Aug 2012 18:10:21 CDT
What some people call the best one day beef cattle industry seminar in the country attracted the Chairman of the House Ag Committee and his wife on Saturday- Oklahoma's third district Congressman Frank Lucas traveled from Roger Mills County in far west central Oklahoma to southern Oklahoma, accompanying his wife Lynda, who is in charge of their family's beef cattle herd. The Lucas family showed up at the Symposium as cattle producers Frank and Lynda Lucas- and spent the day hearing about the challenges and opportunities facing the US cattle industry today.
While in Ardmore, Chairman Lucas talked with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays for a few moments about the pressure that is building on the US House to consider his Committee's 2012 Farm bill- the Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act. Lucas says he spent several days over the last week in the midwest- "I spent three days in Illinois reminding my colleagues and Congress about why it was so important we do a farm bill when we go back into session in September. But you drive up and down the roads, you look at the pasture conditions in central Illinois, you look at the corn fields, you look at the bean fields. Our producers there tell me they expect the corn harvest to come one month early and they’re not very optimistic about what is going to go through the machines."
Lucas has remained consistent with his message since the House Ag Committee passed their farm bill in early July that the country needs action on a 2012 farm bill sooner rather than later. If regular order is maintained- that will mean there has to be consideration of the bill on the floor of the US House- something that GOP leadership has been unwilling to schedule to this point. Lucas told Hays "There are many options out there Ron, but I would tell you I have a feeling tremendous pressure is going to build and that the momentum will be there in September. The President now has come to the realization we need a farm bill; that’s a good thing. I think the Senate’s acknowledgement that they’ve done their work and they are ready to conference with us is a good thing. We just need to get House members focused across the country, and I know there are a lot of people who listen to your broadcast both in Oklahoma and across the nation, but wherever you are you need to make sure your congressmen, your Senator understand this drought is real, it is devastating. It will impact not just the farm community, but it will affect rural America. We need to take action. We need to do our work and let’s get the momentum going to get it done in regular order."
The Chairman is very worried that pushing down the road consideration of farm policy will make this current package a lot harder to maintain, because of budget pressures. Lucas points to the likely crop insurance payouts of later this fall as the 2012 corn and soybeans reach maturity- "I know Ron, in the discussions there have been lots of concerns about what the impact of various budget costs would be in the farm bill process in the coming year, but the 12-ton gorilla right now budget-wise, what happens when the crop insurance checks are written for the lost bean and corn crops in the Midwest. You know we spent around $9-billion in the last ten years. Will this year alone have insurance checks of 20-25-30-$35-billion? That’s the 12-ton gorilla I keep reminding my friends about. We need to get this farm bill done as soon as possible."
You can hear our full conversation with the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas, by clicking on the Listen Bar below.
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