Federal farm bill legalizes hemp, assists dairy farmers, protects maple industry

Dwayne Harmon
December 15, 2018

In the Senate, the vote on Tuesday was 87-13, and in the House, it was 369-47. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law. It is headed to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature after getting approved by the House and Senate this week.

16th District Congressman Adam Kinzinger says, "This legislation is a big win for the 16th District of IL and marks the first time since 2002 that a new Farm Bill will be enacted in the same year that the old one expired".

"While I feel there were missed opportunities in forest management and in improving work requirements for certain SNAP recipients, this bill does include several helpful provisions", Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement, referring to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

This most recent iteration of the bill calls for a number of updates.

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The bill, which is more than 800 pages long, has the support of the Arizona Farm Bureau. "That is not the case in this bill". The legislation also includes an exemption letting farmers already growing hemp under existing research authority continue their operations.

"Let us tell those farmers and ranchers and growers that are going through tough times that they're going to be good for the next five years", Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, said on the Senate Floor. Village Farms produces and distributes fresh, premium-quality produce with consistency 365-days a year to national grocers in the US and Canada from more than nine million square feet of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) greenhouses in British Columbia and Texas, as well as from its partner greenhouses in British Columbia, Ontario, and Mexico.

Here in North Central Florida, Mayor of Newberry, Jordan Marlowe says the bill shows Washington still cares about small towns and farms. This means farmers can choose the program most beneficial to them based on any given year's price of grain. But funding for the program will be cut so that by 2023 the program will get $800 million a year less than what it got in the last year of the previous farm program. Grassley joined eight other Republicans in opposing the measure, which was supported by every Senate Democrat.

"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. The fast-food chain said it will begin monitoring the use of antibiotics in the United States and nine other nations that supply most of its beef. In 2017, almost $1.04 billion distributed among 78,022 farmers in, according to information from the Environmental Working Group and the USDA. But the bill's drafters used the baseline set by the Congressional Budget Office under existing spending levels of $867 billion over the next 10 years, meaning it will not increase the federal deficit from prior projections. 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. "Our strategy has been to partner with farmers across the country in states where hemp cultivation and manufacturing is legal, to provide them with the infrastructure needed to make a profit off this incredible crop".

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