House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma got a taste of cold winter weather – but a warm reception – at farm bill roundtables hosted by North Dakota Congressman Rick Berg in Bismarck and Fargo this week.
Lucas says lawmakers face a big challenge in crafting a farm bill this year. Although the super committee process failed in Congress last fall, Lucas and the other principle leaders of the House and Senate Ag Committees had a farm bill draft ready for the super committee that would have saved 23 billion dollars in the federal deficit reduction effort. The question now is – will agriculture be asked to do more.
However, there are plenty of obstacles to writing a bill under regular order this year.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack commended Lucas and Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow this past week for working together and coming up with their proposal to save 23 billion dollars. Vilsack says Congress should take note and embrace the good faith work of the Ag Committees.
But with all of the Congressional factors at play this election year, some type of an extension of the previous farm bill is still a very possible outcome.
Congressman Berg’s roundtable discussions with Chairman Lucas included dozens of North Dakota’s agricultural and rural leaders.