Update December 20, 2018: President Trump has signed the Farm Bill into law.
By Miriam Raftery
December 15, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Senate has passed a farm bill that now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for signature. The final version stripped out efforts by House Republicans, who had sought to imposeharsher work requirements on millions of food stamp recipients. The House version would have dropped about 1.5 million low-income people off the program.
H.R. 2, the compromise bill passed with overwhelmingsupport in the Senate Tueday night. The bill also legalizes growing of industrial hemp nationwide, though localjurisdictions may still ban it, as San Diego Supervisors have done despite pressure from the county Farm Bureau, which supports legal hemp growing. Industrial hemp is forecast to become a $20 billion industry by 2022.
Hemp was grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and was a staple crop in the U.S. for centuries, but was later banned due to the crop’s similarities to marijuana even though hemp does not contain any psychoactive ingredients. Hemp fibers are prized for strength and durability, used in products ranging from clothing to ropesto nautical ropes.
The final version of the Farm Bill also increases commodity crop payments to farmers during down-pricing cycles by about a billion dollars over the next ten years.