House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas Continues Quest to Complete Five Year Farm BillMon, 19 Aug 2013 05:23:31 CDT
The Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Oklahoma's Third District Congressman Frank Lucas, spoke at the summer picnic meeting of the the Northwest Area of the American Farmers & Ranchers on Saturday in Ringwood, Oklahoma. Ringwood sits in eastern Major County, right in the heart of the third Congressional District that Lucas serves. As he arrived, Farm Director Ron Hays spent a few minutes talking with the Chairman about what he expects to happen as Congress returns to Washington on September 9th- at least as it pertains to a conclusion to the 2013 Farm Bill process.
Lucas told Hays that he "hopes to see action on whether there will be a freestanding Nutrition Bill" soon after members of Congress get back to DC- and once that decision is made- a quick pivot into the naming of House Conferees to work out differences with the Senate on farm policy.
Lucas points out that there is a huge difference in how the Senate and the House are approaching a reform of Nutrition programs in this country- as evidenced in the dollar amount of savings proposed. Lucas says the national media has focused mostly on the Nutrition issues- and the range of "cuts" that have been proposed- Four Billion dollars over a ten year period coming out of the Senate, Twenty Billion dollars in cuts coming from the House Ag Committee but rejected by the full House- and now perhaps a Republican plan to offer a forty billion dollar reduction in Nutrition spending over a ten year period. That disparity will demand input from the House, Senate and White House before it's all over.
Meanwhile, Lucas says rural America is concentrating on the Commodity Title- Title One- with the Senate and the House offering different plans in the measures that have cleared each respective body. Lucas says he has spent time in the corn belt both last year and this year- and the prospects of a bumper crop here in 2013 might force especially the corn grower groups who have strongly called for the shallow loss plan advanced in the Senate to rethink what will help their producers. Lucas told Hays that when you start talking corn- "Now that we're bouncing around in the four dollar range, depending on which weather forecast you get- I would say there's a distinct possibility that shallow loss revenue might not work for them."
Also discussed was Crop Insurance and the attacks on the program, Heritage Action's calls for a one year extension of current farm policy to get a chance for major reforms and why Chairman Lucas is interested in permanent law being updated to become the 2013 mesure instead of the 1949 act.
During his comments made to the farm audience- Lucas pledged "we will get a farm bill done this year" and strongly dfenced the idea of changing permanent law- saying it's much easier to defend a position established rather than having to advance new legislation every four to five years.
Click on the Listen Bar below to hear the full conversation with Chairman Lucas.
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