True to form, House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), at the 2012 Farm Journal Forum hosted in partnership with Informa Economics, delivered a frank and dynamic address that revolved, not surprisingly, around the fiscal cliff and the related farm bill process.
Lucas pointed out that when the "powers that be," namely President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), determine the farm bill must get done, it will get done. But, consistent with recent talk, Lucas did indicate that budget reconciliation will likely take the form of a mechanism similar to that of the failed supercommittee process of 2011, where all standing committees will be assigned specific dates by which they must take definitive action to deliver definitive cuts.
He emphasized that roughly three weeks before year-end does not allow enough time to address the major budget issues and that reforms are needed. He expressed confidence that the ag committees would be able to step up and offer mandated savings, but again said a transition period will likely be needed considering the "magnitude of the changes we're talking about."
He jokingly noted he likes the people at USDA and it is simply not possible for them to implement major changes and programs ahead of year-end when producers would be left without a safety net. That possibility is simply unacceptable, according to Lucas.
Notably, Lucas noted that ag leaders had made "great progress" in recent days regarding the commodity title and said there is no reason we can't be ready to "pony up" and offer farm bill savings.
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