The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 24, 2006

Little input needed from Bush, Senate on farm bill

There’s an old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

It seems the 2002 farm bill was one of the more popular farm bills to come out in the history of farm bills, according to Frank Lucas. The Third District representative has been traveling the state getting input from agricultural officials and farmers on what should be included in the 2007 version of the farm bill. He expects large sections of the 2002 bill to be retained.

Lucas knows there will be some suggested changes to the farm bill, particularly where renewable energy is concerned. He expects the 2007 version to have more language in it regarding the focus on ethanol, biofuels and wind energy.

That’s a good thing. Ethanol, biofuels and wind energy all are farmer-friendly. There is a possibility renewable fuels really will take off in the future, and that is gaood news for agriculture.

Now is the time for farmers and ranchers to let Lucas know what needs to be included in the 2007 bill or what changes need to be made.

While we encourage input from farmers and ranchers, we discourage a lot of input in the bill from the president and the Senate.

Lucas pointed out the last two bills had little input from the administration. President Bill Clinton was “hands off” in the writing of the 1996 bill, and President George H.W. Bush was the same with the 2002 bill. The U.S. Senate also didn’t have a lot of input on the 2002 bill.

It sounds like the best policy for the Bush administration would be to let the House agriculture committee do its work and leave them alone.

After all, the House committee knows the most about agriculture and has the most contact with the people it will affect, and it would be best for the administration to stay hands off.

We hope the administration doesn’t try to make a “last stand” by getting too involved in the 2007 version of the bill.

“I would like the administration and the Senate to leave us alone and let the House write the bill,” Lucas told a group of cattlemen last week.

Based on the popularity of the last two farm bills, that sounds like good advice to us.