“We must develop a farm bill that works for all regions and all commodities. We have repeatedly heard that a one size fits all program will not work,” House Ag Committee Chair Frank Lucas said at the outset of the committee’s first farm bill field hearing of 2012 in upstate New York Friday. “The Commodity Title must give producers options so that they can choose the program that works best for them.” Three more field hearings   in Illinois, Arkansas and Kansas – are planned through April 20, and the public can submit comments in writing at www.agriculture.house.gov through May 20.

The House panel “has a fast-closing window of opportunity over the next 4-6 weeks to really make some progress,” freshman member Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., told Agri-Pulse.

Delaying action on the farm bill until 2013, Crawford worries, would almost certainly mean deeper budget cuts than the $23 billion recommended by Capitol Hill ag leaders last fall.

“I would hate to hazard a guess as to how high those cuts would go up at that point,” he said.

For more perspective from freshman members on the House Ag Committee, click here

Getting a farm bill through the House ahead of the November elections is not a priority for Speaker John Boehner, he explained during a fundraiser held in his honor last week. According to sources who attended the event, Chairman Lucas, who accompanied Boehner to the fundraiser, continues to make the case to the Speaker and other Republican leaders that enacting new farm legislation this year would keep as many as 70 rural Districts in GOP hands.


Original story printed in March 14, 2012 Agri-Pulse Newsletter.

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