With the end in sight for the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, which contains provisions likely to grant hemp full agricultural legalization, and revenues from existing hemp products rising, hemp farmers are seeing reasons for excitement this fall.
- The Farm Bill is set to finally pass through Congress in the near future.
- Predicted hemp revenues for the next few years are soaring.
- Hemp is doing particularly well in states with supportive politicians, such as Kentucky.
The top House Agriculture Democrat says a final farm bill agreement rejects controversial House provisions to tie food stamp benefits to expanded work requirements, greenlights hemp cultivation and tweaks programs important to farmers and ranchers.
The death of former President George H.W. Bush and his lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda disrupted congressional schedules this week, including the release of a final farm bill. Lawmakers have spent weeks negotiating to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the legislation.
House Agriculture ranking member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota said the five-year legislation is “mostly a status quo” bill that keeps current work requirements for able-bodied adults in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the food stamp program. SNAP’s eligibility standards and the way monthly benefits are calculated would remain the same. Peterson made the comments Monday in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio. He added Tuesday that he hopes a farm bill conference report will be released Dec. 10.
This year’s farm bill includes a section that will remove quality hemp production from drug enforcement restrictions nationwide. Backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, this has been one of the less controversial parts of the bill despite hemp’s illicit history. The possibility of offering struggling farmers a valuable cash crop is one that both parties can get behind.
Unfortunately, this important change for hemp was left in limbo thanks to the other battles over the bill. But now discussions in committee are finally moving towards a finished bill that unifies the House and Senate versions, as the lame duck Republican house majority tries to pass a law it can stomach before control of a dominant voting bloc passes to the Democrats.
Bottom line: the legalization of hemp cultivation could be just days away.