U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced on Thursday, June 28, that the Senate finally passed the so-called Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the Farm Bill), which takes serious steps to ensure the future of American agriculture in the form of hemp production.
A conference committee made up of members from both chambers will now reconcile the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill.
“Today’s passage of the Senate version of the Farm Bill takes farm families here in Kentucky and across the country one step closer to the certainty they need to survive such a tough agricultural economy,” said Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney.
The Senate Farm Bill strengthens the safety measures that directly help commodity producers as they confront low prices and the constant threat of natural disasters. It also seizes on a number of opportunities to invest in the future of American agriculture and rural communities.
McConnell said the move will empower farmers to begin cultivating industrial hemp, which could play a key role in the economic future of Kentucky and the nation.
“Our farm families and those across rural America face a lot of uncertainty: natural disasters, from droughts to floods, unstable world markets and falling commodity prices,” McConnell said, per AP. “The farmers that feed and support this country are counting on us to provide the predictability and certainty of a long-term farm bill.”
The legislation renews farm programs such as crop insurance and land conservation. Farm programs are set to expire Sept. 30 unless Congress acts.
Work on the legislation comes at a time when farmers are facing low prices and a potential trade war that could depress commodities prices further.
“We are one step closer to providing farmers and ranchers a Farm Bill with the certainty and predictability they deserve,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, ( R-Kan). “I am proud we have a strong, budget-neutral farm bill with broad support.”