Lucas reflects on time and work put into Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) made a last minute effort to drum up support for the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 on the House floor on Thursday before it ultimately failed in a 195-234 vote.

The bill took four years to write and endured a lengthy consideration process in the House.

Lucas said Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) led the legislative work for the bill by leading the committee into the countryside to have eight field hearings across the country.

“We followed up those field hearings with a series of 11 audit hearings on every single policy under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Agriculture,” Lucas said.

The committee held a total of 40 hearings on every topic related to the legislation. It recently spent at least 12 hours marking up two slightly different versions of the bill and considered more than 200 of its amendments in total.

“In the end, we had a large, bipartisan margin of support,” Lucas said. “The vote tally this year was 36 to10 with 23 out of 25 Republicans and 13 out of 21 Democrats supporting it.”

Lucas said the bill was an opportunity to reduce billions of dollars in mandatory government spending and would reduce the size and cost of federal government.