Saturday, February 4, 2023

Congressman Lucas Hopeful Over Next Farm Bill’s Impact On Oklahoma

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The center of a lame duck session, with a funding deadline looming, might sound an odd time for a member of Congress to be speaking excitedly about attending to work on the following Farm Bill, however maybe not, if that member is an Oklahoma farmer and rancher Frank Lucas.

In the subsequent Congress, which will likely be Rep. Lucas’s fifteenth time period, the Roger Mills County Republican is more likely to chair the necessary Science, Space, and Technology Committee and additionally be the senior Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, however he sees one other potential committee task as simply, if no more, necessary.

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“My legacy committee is agriculture,” mentioned Rep. Lucas (R-OK3) in an interview final week, “and I’ve asked to, and I expect to, be returning to that because next year will be the every-five-year Farm Bill process, the 2023 Farm Bill.”

The Farm Bill supplies a security internet, Lucas says, to ensure American farmers and ranchers can increase the meals and fiber we’d like, within the healthiest, most reasonably priced, and most ample vogue.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” mentioned Lucas. “We take the ‘14 bill that became the ‘18 bill, which will now hopefully become the ‘23 bill, and we’ll make adjustments — input costs have changed dramatically.”

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And there have been different adjustments for the reason that present Farm Bill was written. Notably, Lucas says, Covid-19 and the struggle in Ukraine uncovered vulnerabilities in U.S. and world provide chains and the necessity, for instance, for reforms to the meatpacking trade.

“State-inspected plants, as we have in Oklahoma, are just as good as federally-inspected,” Lucas acknowledged, “but you typically can’t sell your product across the state line because it doesn’t have a federal stamp. How do we expand the meat inspection program on the federal level so that more packing plants — competition to the big boys, so to speak — are able to sell their products around the country? Issues like that.”

Issues, Lucas says, that historical past has proven matter to a broad, bipartisan majority of Congress. Passing payments like this, he says, finally ends up being an train in ‘working the center.’

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“Because the hard left and the hard right never vote for them,” Lucas defined. “If you can’t get a majority in the middle, there’s not going to be a Farm Bill. So, everything I care about requires the process working, and this place functioning, and I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen.”

Lucas says, with parts of the 2018 Farm Bill set to start expiring subsequent fall, his hope is to get the brand new invoice throughout the end line by October 1, 2023

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