He and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., the Agriculture Committee ranking member, also helped defeat an amendment offered by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., that would have capped farm program payments at $125,000 a year, arguing it would have a devastating effect on farmers facing disasters now.

“This amendment asks us to tell the farmers affected by these catastrophes that while they were trying to save their equipment, livestock, and personal property from devastation, we were changing the rules in Washington,” said Lucas. “So they may have lost everything, but we in Washington have decided it was only worth $125,000.”

The House also defeated a second attempt to lower the adjusted gross income eligibility limit for farm AGI to $250,000, which failed 186-228; a proposal to eliminate Market Access Program funding, which failed 101-314; and to eliminate or reduce P.L. 480 Title II international food-aid funding.

Farm organizations such as the National Cotton Council and the USA Rice Federation applauded those efforts. The NCC said many of the amendments would have “severely compromised” the cotton program by amending the 2008 farm bill two years before it is scheduled to expire.

“Once again agriculture was asked to contribute to deficit reduction,” NCC Chairman Charles Parker said, “and while the cuts in this bill are difficult to accept, the leaders are to be complimented for their efforts to preserve funding for key programs and agencies as best they could.”