Recovery continues for Oklahoma Congressman and former Chair of the House Ag Committee Frank Lucas. On August fourth- the Congressman/rancher discovered a stray bull on the ranch that he and his wife Lynda operate in Roger Mills County. That bull took dead aim for the former Chair of the House Ag Committee- “putting him up against an alleyway hard enough to push my right leg- the ball and femur hard enough to break it and also in several places my pelvis- so I will never go through the metal screener at the airport without setting off the alarm but I am getting better- my surgeon says I will make a full recovery but going six weeks without putting any weight down on my right foot is a real complicated experience.”
Lucas says he will be back on the floor of the House next Wednesday- although he will be moving kinda slow in the immediate future.
One of the reasons that Congressman Lucas is anxious to return is to help the GOP navigate the work to fund the government and avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month. The Appropriations Committee getting the Ag Appropriations measure done will go a long way in helping pave the way to develop and eventually pass a 2023 Farm Bill.
“Short term we need to fund the federal government…because there is not gonna be any oxygen, politically so to speak in DC, to do important things like the Farm Bill until the appropriations process is over with- and a farm bill is important because if you eat- it’s important to you.”
Lucas says he appreciates the dilemma that both Chairman GT Thompson in the House and Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow are dealing with- saying he’s been there when it comes to trying to walk a narrow path of success in crafting legislation as complicated and multifaceted like a farm bill. He says that while the end of the 2018 Farm Bill is September 30th- the first real deadline that impacts an important area of agriculture is December 31st when provisions for Dairy expire. An extension will be needed by then and there is a world of incentive for both of the Chairmen to find ways to get farm bill language developed and moving by the end of the year and early into 2024. He counsels “Don’t get excited if we have to do some sort of short extension- we did an extension in ’08- we did an extension in ’14 and even the ’18 Farm Bill was not passed until after September 30th of that year. So, let’s all be calm- let’s continue to work together- let’s just make sure we have a good farm bill.”
In particular- Lucas points to the Senate Ag Chair Stabenow- who has announced she will not seek reelection in 2024 as one that will really want to a 2023-24 Farm Bill to be a capstone for her Congressional legacy.
When asked about some of the controversial proposals that some lawmakers are promoting for the livestock industry- like Country of Origin labeling and Checkoff changes- Lucas tells Hays “By the time you take both bills to the appropriate committees- take them across both floors and then to a conference committee- the things that survive are things that are overwhelmingly agreed to- controversial things go by the wayside.”
Lucas also briefly addressed language he authored in the Agricultural Risk Review Act that passed the Financial Services Committee on Wednesday- click here for more details of that proposal.
Click on the Listen bar above to hear the full conversation that Hays and Lucas had on Thursday morning, September 21, 2023.