Published: Fri, December 14, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Senate passes Farm Bill; hemp closer to becoming a legal commodity

Senate passes Farm Bill; hemp closer to becoming a legal commodity

In anticipation of the passage of this landmark legislation, over the last several months, we have undertaken broad and extensive foundational work to ensure Village Farms can move quickly, aggressively and profoundly.

Though hemp fibers can be used to create clothing and other products, market analysts expect the biggest growth to come from hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD, which is used in health and wellness products such as supplements.

"Providing farmers and our agriculture community with a strong five-year bill was not just a goal of ours, it was a responsibility we took on when Kansans elected us to be their voice in D.C.", Rep. Marshall said.

One thing the bill doesn't include: tighter work requirements for food stamp recipients, a provision of the House bill that was celebrated by President Donald Trump but became a major sticking point during negotiations.

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 USA trade war with China, a key buyer of US soy beans and other farm produce.

"Making it official with my hemp pen", he tweeted out Monday in advance of Senate approval of the bill.

The bill includes The Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which officially removes industrial hemp from the federal list of Schedule I controlled substances. Rodes says growing hemp isn't new to Virginia, but it's been illegal for quite a few years.

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

Both chambers passed their own versions of the bill earlier in the year. In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Peterson pointed out improvements for dairy farmers and permanent funding for Local Food & Farmers Market Promotion Program, value-added producer grants, the BFRDP program, organic research and the Section 2501 Outreach program. Funding provided by the bill lasts over five years until 2023, reauthorizing $400 billion in USA agricultural subsidies and conservation programs. With that, the USA cannabis industry could grow to $20 billion by 2022 from $800 million this year.

The bill would provide more than $400 billion for agriculture subsidies and conservation programs.

The bill also provides permanent funding to help veteran farmers and farmers who are minorities.

Also provided in the bill are provisions that permit hemp, barley, and hops to be covered by crop insurance.

"A lot of this was our belief that we had an obligation to fix this ourselves, and while I have no doubt a new Congress could have gotten it done I think we needed to fix the mess", said Sen. "The money is not significantly more, but the secretary [of agriculture] has been given some flexibility" to create new markets for United States farm goods, Moore says.

That is the reason the new bill combines some existing export-promotion programs.

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