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Lucas: Ryan good for ticket, but needs farm bill education

TAMPA — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said today there are positives for the Republican presidential ticket in Mitt Romney’s selection of a vice presidential candidate, but that he is still trying to educate House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., about agricultural policy.

Ryan, the GOP vice presidential nominee, has proposed cutting crop insurance and turning food stamps into a capped block grant to the states, measures that Lucas and Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., have declined to support.

Asked after the Great American Farm Lunch here today for his reaction Romney’s choice of running mate, Lucas said he was pleased that Ryan has connections to Oklahoma, noting that the candidate’s wife, Janna Little Ryan, comes from a prominent Democratic family.

He also said that the selection of Ryan “will help draw a clear distinction” between the two presidential campaigns on fiscal issues.

But Lucas also said he has spent “a lot of time” discussing the budget with Ryan.

“On agricultural policy, like many members of the House I continue to educate my good friend,” Lucas said.