Lucas Reiterates Opposition to Linking Crop Insurance, Conservation Practices

October 10, 2013 02:50 AM
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180-degree change of position by American Farm Bureau Federation

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) reiterated his opposition to linking crop insurance payments to compliance with conservation measures on highly erodible lands and sensitive wetlands.

Saying he was “philosophically opposed to this linkage,” Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said he supported the American Farm Bureau Federation's new position on the matter.

Conservation compliance measures tied to crop insurance would be a misguided and redundant regulatory burden imposed on farmers and their property rights,” he said. Lucas said all farmers who receive assistance through the USDA commodity, conservation and credit programs already are required to protect the nation's wetlands and environmentally sensitive croplands.

Lucas said he is a firm believer in conservation practices but added that they should be voluntarily adopted by farmers, not imposed on them.

Lucas issued his statement after the Farm Bureau Federation's board voted to oppose such a linkage. The vote backtracks on an agreement linking conservation compliance and crop insurance payments that the federation reached in May with 43 other groups, with Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) reportedly seeking Farm Bureau's help in getting support for the controversial measure.

The final version of the House-passed farm bill (HR 2642) did not contain the language on conservation compliance.

Comments: Staff from Stabenow's office, sources inform, reportedly sent out an email to conservation groups and others regarding the 180-degree change of position Farm Bureau and others made on the conservation compliance topic. Sources say some on the Senate Ag Committee staff are "livid" about the Farm Bureau change of position, saying it "threw Stabenow under the bus" on the matter.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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