From hemp to organic foods, farm bill embraces change in rural US

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"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 2014 farm bill paved the way for hemp research programs in the states.

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.

"We've been trying to point out this is no time for a revolutionary farm bill", said Sen. A previous version proposed by the House tightened work requirements for food stamp eligibility, a measure that became unlikely to pass after Democrats won control of the House in midterm elections.

North Central Florida Congressman Neal Dunn released a statement following the passing of the bill including: "While not ideal, the 2018 farm bill gives certainty to our farmers, foresters, and ranchers at a time when many producers are struggling".

The Farm Bill comes after months of bipartisan discussions to draft a final version of the legislation.

In his statement on the passage of the farm bill, he touted "the new opportunities available with the full legalization of industrial hemp". But the Senate, which finally caved on requiring lawmakers to pay out of pocket for sexual harassment settlements, rejected both of those provisions and neither ended up in the final bill.

The 2018 Farm Bill includes the Hemp Farming Act 2018 which federally legalizes hemp and hemp products in the USA, including extracts, derivatives and cannabinoids, and permanently removes hemp from the US federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

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"At a time when farm income is down and our growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture's future", Mr. McConnell said Tuesday. As a commodity, hemp would be eligible for crop insurance, which has not been available. "This full legalization provides economic opportunity for farmers across rural OR and rural America-good for jobs, good for our communities, and just good common sense". "But this improvement in the margin protection program is going to provide money in the pocket for farmers".

"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".

Federal legalisation could triple the overall hemp market to $2.5 billion by 2022, with $1.3 billion of those sales from hemp-derived CBD products, according to New Frontier Data, a cannabis market research firm.

"I did support those provisions", she said.

Thursday, Eyewitness News spoke with farmers and rural Kansas families about what the passed Farm Bill actually means for them.

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

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