Opening Statement of Chairman Lucas at Business Meeting to Consider the Budget Views and Estimates Letter of the Committee on Agriculture for the Agencies and Programs Under Its Jurisdiction for FY12

Mar 15, 2011

Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184

The Committee meets today to consider the views and estimates that we will communicate to the Budget Committee regarding the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2012. I want to thank Ranking Member Peterson for the help he has provided in this effort. We all know that the fiscal crisis faced by this country is real and this committee will be part of the solution. As outlined in our proposed views and estimates, a majority of the committee’s agenda this year will fall into two categories: oversight of regulations that affect jobs and the economies of rural communities; and preparation for farm bill reauthorization. This committee is going to conduct an in-depth audit or inventory of every mandatory spending program under our jurisdiction this year. And, as I have stated many times over the past several months, every part of the farm bill will be on the table.

I view our current budget situation as an opportunity to make our agriculture policy even more efficient while allowing farmers and ranchers continued access to the risk management tools vital to producing the safest, most abundant, and most affordable food and fiber supply in the world. While streamlining our programs, we must be careful not to jeopardize the stability of the agricultural industry, which will play a key role in feeding an estimated 9 billion people by the year 2050. Policy changes, if prudent, will be carefully considered by this committee and stakeholders. At this time I would like to recognize Ranking Member Peterson for any comments he may have.