The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Lucas, Peterson react to Senate passage

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., became the first House member to praise the Senate for passing the farm bill today while House Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., emphasized the importance of passing the bill before the 2008 farm bill expires on Sept. 30.

Lucas commended Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., on passage of the bill.

“It was a challenge to move this legislation and their efforts have made it possible,” Lucas said.

“Although there will be differences between the Senate approach and our own, I hope my colleagues are encouraged by this success when we meet on [July] 11th to consider our own legislation,” he added. “The House Agriculture Committee will consider a balanced proposal that saves taxpayers billions of dollars, recognizes the diversity of American agriculture, respects the risks producers face, and preserves the tools necessary for food production.”

Peterson said he was giving “high marks” to Stabenow and Roberts for securing bipartisan support for the bill.

“I’m not on board with everything they’ve done, but think that we’ll be able to work out our differences in conference committee,” he added.

“It is crucial that we finish the farm bill before the current bill expires in September,” Peterson emphasized. “Waiting until the mess that will occur during the lame duck session will not only make it more difficult, but could also result in several unintended consequences.

“If the House Ag Committee passes a bipartisan bill in early July, House leadership will then have little choice but to bring the farm bill to the floor before the August recess,” Peterson said. “I’m continuing to work with Chairman Lucas and members of the Committee to make this happen.”

House Agriculture General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, emphasized his objections to the Senate bill.

“This bill flat misses the mark, leaving little money for agriculture," Conaway said.

“The legislation passed by the Senate today lacks regional balance by providing new entitlements for a handful of states while freezing out all other commodities from any sort of safety net,” Conaway said. “It is loaded with negligent food stamp expenditures which under this bill will increase to roughly 80 percent of overall the spending in the farm bill. I appreciate that the process in the Senate is moving along, and I look forward to passing a more balanced and conservative bill in the House.”

Rep. Ronald Neugebauer, R-Texas, said he was pleased the Supplemental Coverage Option on crop insurance was included in the Senate bill and that he anticipates there will some differences in what the House Agriculture Committee writes.