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Lawmakers stress need for extension of Farm Bill during Oklahoma City forum

Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur, Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn Thompson and Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas field questions about the Farm Bill.
Anna Pope
/
OPMX
Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur, Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn Thompson and Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas field questions about the Farm Bill.

While hearing questions on the Farm Bill in Oklahoma, congressional members said the bill will need an extension.

Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA), chair of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, and Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas (R- Cheyenne), chair of the U.S. House Committee on Science, hosted a Farm Bill discussion Monday.

Thompson said there are three main obstacles for the bill. He said the committee is waiting for accurate numbers from the Congressional Budget Office, it’s waiting on technical assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture and funding.

“And then the third is in this economy and quite frankly, with the debt that we have, there's no new spending,” Thompson said. “So, it's identifying dollars that can be reprioritized into these Farm Bill priorities.”

Oklahoma agriculture officials and producers had questions about priorities such as marketplace competition, water savings and insurance programs for Thompson and Lucas. Thompson said many of the issues brought up in the forum in Oklahoma City were similar to questions in other states.

Although lawmakers missed the bill’s Sept. 30 deadline, experts say most agricultural programs will work normally until the bill’s new deadline because they have enough funding until the end of the year. Other programs don’t expire because they are permanently authorized.

Lucas said an extension will give farmers and ranchers a cushion.

“An extension provides certainty, and certainty is one of those things we need badly,” Lucas said. “Plus, always remember that when we complete the new farm bill, and it is signed into law by the president, it will take effect immediately, so we can have the best of both worlds.”

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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