Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-03), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, held a hearing to evaluate the effectiveness of the forestry initiatives in the 2014 Farm Bill. This hearing is a continuation of the committee’s hearing series to set the stage for the next farm bill. The subcommittee heard from a broad panel of experts who shared their perspectives on the forestry programs authorized under Title VIII of the 2014 Farm Bill.
“Today confirmed that there is always more work to be done in order to improve our management programs. As we have seen in the past few weeks in my home state of Oklahoma, as well as Texas, Kansas, and Colorado, wildfires can wreak havoc on our natural resources and negatively impact our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters. Our thoughts and prayers are with the folks who were so tragically affected. As we begin crafting the next farm bill, we have a responsibility to not only provide the folks who live and work on these lands with the tools needed to successfully manage our forest and rangelands, but to also avoid risking their safety at all costs. As we further our discussion on forestry initiatives, it is important to ensure our nation’s forests and rangelands are being effectively managed in order to remain healthy and productive for the rural communities who depend on them,” said Subcommittee Chairman Lucas.
“Our nation’s forests—whether federal, state, or private—serve as huge economic drivers in many communities. In addition to a timber supply, healthy forests provide communities with crucial benefits such as clean air and water, wildlife habitats, recreation opportunities and much more. In the 2014 Farm Bill, meaningful reforms were made to help improve the management tools that our forests so desperately needed and support the voluntary conservation efforts forest owners make on their private lands. We all benefit from healthy forests, which is why this committee is committed to providing our foresters with the necessary tools to protect and conserve our nation’s forests and natural resources,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway.
Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Subcommittee Chairman Frank Lucas’ opening statement and the archived webcast.
Mr. George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester, Vice President, National Association of State Foresters, Oklahoma City, OK
Ms. Susan Benedict, Tree Farmer, Beartown Family Limited Partnership, State College, PA
Mr. Jim D. Neiman, Vice President & CEO, Neiman Enterprises, Inc., Hulett, WY
Ms. Becky Humphries, Chief Conservation and Operations Officer, National Wild, Turkey Federation, Edgefield, SC
Mr. Tom Harbour, Retired National Director, Fire & Aviation Management, U.S. Forest Service, Falls Church, VA