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Senate passes $867 billion farm bill

14 December, 2018, 06:29 | Author: Shawna Walton
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The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 - a five-year, $867 billion bill - is the latest iteration of a program that stretches back to 1933. The compromise bill - released Monday - does not include the strict work requirements for food stamps passed under the House bill earlier this year.

Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that "the farm bill is in very good shape", and "our farmers are well taken care of". Village Farms is now working with lobbyists in Texas to have hemp removed from Texas' controlled substance list in the upcoming early-2019 legislative session.

"The American Dairy Coalition appreciates the bipartisan effort that resulted in the advancement of the Farm Bill".

Legalized industrial hemp has been a longstanding goal for its advocates, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who helped secure the provisions in the farm bill, saying even under the old, limited rules, his home state of Kentucky saw a $16 million boost to its economy from hemp a year ago.

More than 40 million Americans, or about 12 percent of the USA population, depend on the SNAP food stamps program to keep from going hungry.

The new federal law won't stop state lawmakers from making laws to restrict or regulate industrial hemp production, but Walker said she hopes it will be an option for more people looking for a more natural approach to wellness. While farm bills include safety net programs for farmers, nutrition programs - including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP - account for most of the spending.

There were efforts to cut off subsidies to the wealthiest farmers but that language didn't make it into the final bill, said said Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group.

"The farm bill is moving along nicely", Trump said during the meeting.

No assurance can be given as to whether hemp will ultimately become federally legal in the USA and legal in the State of Texas or elsewhere. The farm bill proposed by House Republicans had also proposed merging the Conservation Stewardship Program, which pays farmers to strengthen conservation efforts on their farms, into another branch of the Agriculture Department. 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.

"I want to thank Senator Pat Roberts, who has been a mentor to me throughout this process and who has now seen through eight Farm Bills, as well as Chairman Conaway for his leadership and guidance".

"Finally we are recognizing industrial hemp for the agricultural product it is", Merkley said. The program will survive under the final version of the bill, aides said.

The new farm bill section on hemp says otherwise.

"I think we're at the beginning of this whole thing and there is tremendous potential", Tebbetts said.

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