Lucas highlights cost savings, reforms in farm bill agreement

Members of the House and the Senate reached bipartisan agreement on a five-year farm bill on Monday that would end direct payments, consolidate numerous programs and crack down on program misuse.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said the farm bill conference report contains “significant” cost savings and reforms.

“We are putting in place sound policy that is good for farmers, ranchers, consumers and those who have hit difficult times…” Lucas said.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 would strengthen the crop insurance program and create a permanent livestock disaster assistance program to help mitigate risk for farmers and prevent sharp increases in food prices that result from weather conditions.

The farm bill would also consolidate 23 conservation programs into 13 programs to increase efficiency and flexibility.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would be overhauled to increase efficiency and to crack down on trafficking, fraud and misuse. Investments would also be made in new job training pilot programs to help people secure employment under SNAP.

“…I appreciate the work of everyone who helped in this process,” Lucas said. “We never lost sight of the goal; we never wavered in our commitment to enacting a five-year, comprehensive farm bill. I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting its passage.”