By Ron Hays
A wide ranging conversation was had with the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Oklahoma's Third District Congressman Frank Lucas on Thursday afternoon. Lucas has just been back in washington for a couple of days after the August recess- and indicates that he has yet to sit down face to face with his ranking minority member, Collin Peterson, to discuss exactly how to assemble recommendations to the SuperCommittee for possible budget cuts that will be worked on by those twelve members of Congress this fall. Deadline for the standing committees to get their ideas to the SuperCommittee is just over a month away- October 14.
Lucas still prefers getting a number instead of being instructed by the SuperCommittee to cut specific programs- and he is still not certain if the SuperCommittee will demand full fledged authorizing legislation to fully be in place this fall- or if the spending cap can be accommodated in the writing of the 2012 farm bill next spring or summer.
He also has been watching with interest the farm policy statements of groups like the National Cotton Council. The NCC has backed away from staunchly backing continuation of direct farm program payments, while touting some form of a crop insurance type safety net.
We also talked about regulations, Conservation program priorities and how he expects the work load to be divided between the House and Senate Ag Committees.