Lucas Just Wants to Get Ag Policy Right

Tomorrow (Wednesday) - House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas will chair the first meeting of the farm bill conference committee. Committee members have the difficult task of reconciling a House bill that cuts 39-billion dollars from food stamps over the next 10 years and 60-billion dollars overall - with a Senate bill that cuts 4.5-billion dollars from food stamps and 24.5-billion dollars overall. Lucas does have a proposal for cutting food stamps that he insists can be made without keeping anyone who really needs assistance from receiving it. Mainly by eliminating what is called categorical qualification from the program - his proposal would cut about 20-billion dollars from food stamps. Lucas also favors continuing the move away from direct cash payments to producers in favor of federally subsidized crop and livestock insurance. No matter what anyone else might say - Lucas says ag support is necessary to assure reasonably priced food supplies and he understands what happens if Congress gets the policy wrong. He points to the Depression of the 20s and 30s and what he describes as an ag and energy depression that occurred in the 80s. Lucas says he's going to try to make sure Congress doesn't make the policy mistakes of the 70s and 80s or 20s and 30s.

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