HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN FRANK LUCAS ADDRESSES FARM BILL ISSUES
CULLMAN, Ala., Oct. 10, 2012 — U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., addressed a crowded room of farmers and legislators today during a farm bill discussion at Stone Bridge Farms in Cullman.
|U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., center, visited with Alabama farmers at Stone Bridge Farms in Cullman. From left are Governmental and Agricultural Programs Director Jimmy Carlisle, Lucas and National Legislative Programs Director Mitt Walker.|
Aderholt said hosting the lunch session with Lucas was a good way for farmers to voice their concerns in an informal setting.
"Farmers need to know what to expect and how to plan, and having a farm bill is so important," Aderholt said. "The greatest mistake we as Americans can make is looking to the rest of the world for our agricultural products. Chairman (Frank) Lucas is committed to making sure farmers have a voice in Washington."
Lucas, the U.S. Representative for Oklahoma's 3rd District, told luncheon attendees agriculture has always been a part of his life, and the problems farmers face are ones that are close to his heart.
"I'm a fifth-generation Oklahoman whose family has lived and farmed for more than a century," said Lucas. "I understand the worries farmers have today because farming is a part of my life, a part of my history."
Addressing concerns of the tabled farm bill, Lucas said the House has to make sure the 2012 farm bill represents all commodities, not just farmers who raise energy crops.
"When we get it wrong, the effect is dramatic. Getting farm bill policy right is so important to the future of American agriculture," he said. "We can't make it rain, but we can provide crop insurance and other safety nets for rural America."
Lucas said fixing the problems with the food stamps program is a requirement before consensus will be achieved.
"The farm bill has to compete with tax code issues and the food stamp and welfare programs," he added. "We want to help those who need help, but let's first make sure the people who are receiving this help actually qualify for it. The language in the bill needs to reflect that before we pass a bill that will negatively impact who it's supposed to protect. Farm bills should be crafted in ways that benefit those who are included in the bill, and I believe the House has the power to enforce that standard."
When asked how the results of the 2012 presidential election will affect the status of the farm bill, Lucas said its certainly a concern for the agricultural sector and House Agriculture Committee members alike.
"The current administration doesn't seem too shaken up about protecting rural America," answered Lucas. "To be honest, I'm a little worried about where we are in their attention span. But, the quicker we get it done, the better chance we have to get it on the books regardless of which candidate wins."