Oklahoma Representative Frank Lucas Offers Insight Into Farm Bill During Listening Session

Oklahoma's Farm Bill 'insider,' Cheyenne rancher and Representative Frank Lucas, got back on the House Agriculture Committee at the beginning of the year, around the same time the committee's chairman, Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn "GT" Thompson, started holding Farm Bill listening sessions across the country.

Monday, November 6th 2023, 8:55 pm



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Leaders of Oklahoma's agriculture industry heard it straight from the top sources on Monday-- the next 5-year Farm Bill is nearing completion but won't be done soon enough to obviate the need for an extension of the current, portions of which began to expire in October.

Oklahoma's Farm Bill 'insider,' Cheyenne rancher and Representative Frank Lucas, got back on the House Agriculture Committee at the beginning of the year, around the same time the committee's chairman, Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn "GT" Thompson, started holding Farm Bill listening sessions across the country.

"It was great to wake up in Oklahoma today," Rep. Thompson (R-PA) said to a cheering crowd Monday morning in Oklahoma City, the scene of his latest listening session.

Chairman Thompson was joined on stage by Rep. Lucas, while two other members of the state's delegation, Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK1) and Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK5), sat in a crowd of about three dozen invited guests, each with a vested interest in the fate of the Farm Bill and eager to hear more about its progress.

"The big question is, are we looking at an extension?" asked Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Rodd Moesel with the first question.

It's been assumed for a couple of months now that an extension of the current 2018 Farm Bill would be needed, given the turmoil within the Republican conference and other factors delaying its completion. Thompson confirmed that assumption Monday, explaining that Congress would likely pass a 'long-term' extension.

"Let me be clear," Thompson told the audience, "when we talk about a long-term extension, we're talking probably the end of the fiscal year, September 30."

Lucas added that an extension was not a bad thing in that it would at least provide much-needed certainty to producers.

"Plus," Lucas said, "always remember that when we complete the new Farm Bill and it's signed into law by the President, it will take effect immediately, so we can have the best of both worlds."

Lucas and Thompson took questions for nearly an hour, hearing concerns about the importance of maintaining crop insurance, incentivizing competition, water conservation and much more. Thompson says insurance comes up at every session he attends.

"The insurance programs, whether we're talking livestock or crops or dairy margin coverage, those are extremely important," Thompson reassured those in attendance, "it's a high priority so we'll see that we can protect those."

Following the session, Thompson spoke briefly with reporters and said one of the harsh realities is that there will be no new dollars in this Farm Bill.

"So, it’s identifying dollars that can be re-prioritized into these Farm Bill priorities," said Rep. Thompson, "and the priorities are the ones I heard about today here in Oklahoma."

Oklahoma is the 38th state Thompson has visited, with this being the 85th listening session. He believes they are the key to making sure the bill is "tri-partisan" -- "It's Republicans, Democrats, and you -- it's the American people," he said.

And Lucas says that's what these sessions are all about -- to get input from outside the Washington Beltway.

"Having the Chairman of the full committee of the United States House come and listen to what I would define as 'real people' -- that’s just important," Lucas stated.

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