U.S. Representative Frank Lucas, R-Okla., Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, says he will “do everything I can” to get a farm bill done by late September. 

“But the magnitude of changes,” he says, “dramatically alters commodity titles.”

Lucas, keynote speaker at the recent Southern Peanut Growers’ Conference in Panama City Beach, Fla., said the House needs to act soon to get the bill passed and into conference with the Senate.

Even with quick passage, Congress may need to extend current policy until new rules can be written and implemented, Lucas said. Wheat farmers, for instance, will be planting by mid-to-late September and need farm policy in place.

Also, livestock insurance provisions created in the 2008 farm law will expire, leaving them without adequate protection.

“We have to get the bill out of the House to a conference committee,” Lucas said during a press briefing following his prepared remarks.

Lucas said the next farm bill must be comprehensive, allowing all commodities to participate, or it will not be a true farm bill. A good farm bill “allows everybody to participate. I understand the perspectives of various regions. But it is a struggle and I am getting pushback. The House bill is good for peanuts,” he said.

Lucas said the House bill “offers substantial savings,” mostly from elimination of direct payments.

Partisan politics will pose a serious challenge for quick passage on the House floor, Lucas said, even though the bill “leaves the House Ag Committee with bi-partisan support.”