Kentucky hemp farmers react to likelihood of new Farm Bill

Anna Jefferson
December 14, 2018

"The focus was to make sure we had a system that protected victims and not politicians".

Estimates show the federal legalization could triple the overall hemp market to $2.5 billion by 2022, with $1.3 billion of those sales from CBD products.

He continued: "I am constantly correcting that notion".

While Thune said he was overall happy with the bill, there were some elements he and other senators hoped to include that didn't make it into the final draft. The new farm bill would remove industrial hemp from the same federal regulatory category as marijuana. Trump and conservatives had pushed to create new work requirements for food stamps, but the Senate rejected the idea. The last farm bill, for example, didn't imagine that U.S. farmers, especially soybean and pork producers, would be reeling from a trade war with China. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell to sponsor the bill and guide it through Congress. McConnell's role as Senate Majority Leader certainly didn't hurt the bill's prospects.

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Now that the farm bill has passed Congress, Rodes says he's excited about the opportunity to add it to the crops grown on his farm one President Trump signs the bill into law.

The Senate version of the farm bill made none of those changes. This is a huge legislative package that reauthorizes agriculture programs and food aid; more specifically for us it also legalizes hemp and in turn, hemp-based CBD. Congress is set to vote on the new version of the bill sometime this week. The final farm bill also eliminates an awards program that gave states up to $48 million per year in federal funding for high performances related to program access and payment accuracy. With that, the US cannabis industry could grow to $20 billion by 2022 from $800 million this year.

The bill also affects research into the plant. "The passing of the Farm Bill is a great step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to help pull our nation's dairy farmers facing financial crisis as a result of low milk prices and the impacts of retaliatory tariffs on dairy product exported to some of our major dairy trading partners", the group said in a statement.

"The biggest struggle that we faced when building our business was that yes, the DEA never interfered with us or really any of our competitors, but banking institutions, outside capital, insurance companies - we even had trouble finding office space because nobody would deal with that kind of gray area", he said.

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"Everything from the ability to open up bank accounts, to get crop insurance - giant hedge funds are now [allowed] to buy hemp stocks - it changes the entire economic complexion of the industrial hemp industry", he said.

Nevertheless, there will be more money for farmers using advanced conservation practices, such as growing cover crops (reimbursed at 125 percent of the farmer's costs) and resource conserving crop rotations and advanced grazing practices (both at 150 percent of costs).

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

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