Congressman Frank Lucas Stresses Importance of the Safety Net in 2023 Farm Bill

Listen to Reagan Calk talk with Congressman Frank Lucas about 2023 Farm Bill.

Associate Farm Editor, Reagan Calk, had the chance to visit with Congressman Frank Lucas about the 2023 Farm Bill and being chosen to chair the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in the 118th Congress.

Chairing the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Lucas said, will put him at the Chairman’s table, which means jurisdiction over the National Science Foundation, research programs at national labs, and more.

“A big thing on the committee that is important to us in Oklahoma and rural America is the National Weather Service- the folks who help us forecast whether it is going to rain and what the weather patterns are going to be,” Lucas said. “We are going to work very hard this time to pass something called an ‘Organic Act,’ which basically takes it from being an agency on an executive order, and making it real.”

Concerning the 2023 Farm Bill, Lucas said the big challenge will be ensuring that there is enough funding to give producers everything they need.

Input prices and the cost of business have dramatically increased, Lucas said, because of Covid and the wars in Europe. The challenge with the 2023 Farm Bill, Lucas said, will be coming up with the resources to adjust the safety net to reflect those higher prices.

“We will spend the first half of this year doing the hearings that are necessary for the groundwork, legislatively,” Lucas said. “At that point, I think we will know from the budget committee, and leadership how many dollars will be available to us, and we will take that and the money that exists and determine how to best use it or how to reallocate some funds to create that function safety net.”

The Senate will have to hold their weight too, Lucas said, and the President must sign it for everything to happen in a timely manner.

“In the worst case scenario, we might have to extend for a few months or a year, but the bottom line is this- as good as the ’18 Farm Bill has been, things have changed, and the Farm Bill has to change to reflect that if we are going to have a real safety net for farmers and ranchers so they can feed the country and the world,” Lucas said.

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