Legalizing hemp could be a huge boost for Valley farmers

The 2018 Farm Bill Vote What You Need To Know

Passage of the bill has been hailed in a largely bipartisan manner as it provides some financial certainty for farmers, a key Trump constituency that has been hurt by the US trade war with China, a key buyer of USA soy beans and other farm produce. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

Passage came after months of negotiations to merge the drastically different versions passed by the House and Senate earlier this year.

The measure previously had stalled as Republicans sought to add work requirements for almost 40 million low-income Americans to qualify for food stamps.

The final bill does not include House Republicans' controversial work requirements for able-bodied people receiving assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, or food stamps. The House vote was 369-47. Passage of the bill would place oversight of domestic hemp production under each state's Department of Agriculture. "It's time to get a bill done so our farmers have predictability and certainty during a very hard time".

"Kansans have benefitted from Representative Marshall's leadership on the House Agriculture Committee during the consideration of this Farm Bill", Roberts said. "That is not the case in this bill". Josh Sewell, senior policy analyst for Taxpayers for Common Sense, called the bill "a step backward on efforts to ensure that farm safety net programs are focused on actual farmers".

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Campbell says the farm bill awaiting President Trump's signatures doesn't appear to change much for Kansas farmers.

"During a time when rural America is facing a downturn in the farm economy and a trade war that's taking its toll on crop, livestock and dairy producers from coast to coast, this bill will provide needed certainty to farmers and ranchers", Peterson said on the House floor Wednesday. "A lot of good things are happening with it, and our farmers are well taken care of", said Trump. This means farmers can choose the program most beneficial to them based on any given year's price of grain.

"It's a pivotal moment we've been preparing for, and a hallmark in the history of hemp", said Matt Oscamou, co-founder of Weller, a manufacturer of CBD-infused snacks.

The bill doesn't include a provision supported by Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, aimed at preventing wealthy absentee landlords from collecting farm subsidies. In North Carolina, more than 500 growers are now licensed to cultivate hemp under a two-year-old research program run by the state Department of Agriculture and N.C. State University.

"This is progress, but we still have a ways to go", says Matthew Wellington, antibiotics program director for U.S. PIRG Education Fund, a nonprofit that works for consumers and the public interest. "For decades, the government hasn't been able to distinguish between the two plants-it's like having a twin brother who breaks the rules, but you get in trouble, too". In 2017, almost $1.04 billion distributed among 78,022 farmers in, according to information from the Environmental Working Group and the USDA. It also permanently allots money for organizations that work to train the next generation of farmers - at a time when experts have raised concerns about the aging of the industry. The bill guarantees $435 million in permanent funding to educate military veterans, socially disadvantaged and novice farmers by tripling the current budget of the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program.

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