House Ag Committee's Frank Lucas- No Issue Closer to My Heart Than ConservationFri, 18 Aug 2017 13:56:34 CDT
Oklahoma Third District Congressman Frank Lucas, who for the second time in his Congressional career, is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Conservation sees no dramatic changes in the Conservation title of a 2018 Farm Bill- and he tells Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays on the sidelines of the Oklahoma Conservation Summit that "the real question is how much money will be available to us to do the overall farm bill- there are a couple of areas in the Commodity Title- cotton and dairy- that have to be handled differently than previously- we have to preserve money for crop insurance and then there will be about the money set aside for conservation."
Chairman Lucas says that the current Ranking member of the overall Committee, Colin Peterson, continues to talk about wanting to add Conservation Reserve Program acres- but Lucas says that will be difficult because it will be costly to add acres to the CRP. He adds that farmers and ranchers mention the EQIP program more to him than any other- saying producers like EQIP but wish out loud that they would like to see a few more dollars available for this cost share program. The Congressman tells Hays "Remember Ron, I chaired the Subcommittee (on Conservation) for the '02 Farm Bill- I was overall Chairman for the '14 Farm Bill and am once again the Subcommittee Chair for what will be the '18 farm bill- there is no issue closer to my heart than conservation."
Lucas has a personal goal to see more flood control dams built in areas where they are needed but no money has ever been authorized to get that done- he continues to work on finding a systematic way to get the money to get those dams built. When asked if this might be a program worthy of the President's attention in his push to do a massive infrastructure campaign across America- "I won't deny it- I have tried to sell that to anyone in the Administration who cared to listen."
Hays and Lucas also talked about his priorities for Title One- the Commodity program and also about the problems of dealing with the Administration with so few Trump Administration appointees approved by the Senate- Lucas says it is really frustrating saying "we desperately need those under secretaries and assistant secretaries and division directors" and pointing out that there is currently no one even nominated to be the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service which is a critical position to make sure we are doing the things needed to benefit the soil and water resources here in this country.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the complete conversation between Lucas and Hays recorded in south Oklahoma City on Friday morning at the Oklahoma Conservation Summit.
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