How this farm bill could change future of farm policy

Published online: Feb 23, 2014

After finally clearing all the hurdles to get the Agriculture Act of 2014 signed into law, there’s already been speculation if this could be the last farm bill of its kind.

House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas says it’s increasingly more difficult to pass farm legislation when more and more of our population and decision makers are so far removed from production agriculture.

But, he says, that’s not the only challenge.

“To try and do a farm bill when you have a political environment where you have—by Oklahoma’s definition—a very conservative House, a very liberal president, and a Senate that’s just in the middle – maybe that’s the best way to put that,” he says. “There are these huge deficits, so there is no new money and there is no old money—it’s how much less money can you spend to get your things done.”

And, he adds this farm bill represents major change.

“This new, third generation of farm policy in this last century was difficult to put together because we were changing so many things,” he says. “Just as 1996 changed so many things, just as the first agricultural acts of the 1930’s created policy from nothing.”

Because of the changes to this farm bill and the struggle to get it completed, Lucas tells Brownfield his one regret was not being able to make this version of farm policy permanent law.