Inside The Farm Bill: Subsidies For Farmers, Boost For Hemp And More

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Young corn plants grow in a field in rural Ashland, Neb., Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Nati Harnik/AP)
Young corn plants grow in a field in rural Ashland, Neb., Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Nati Harnik/AP)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Congress sends a massive, bipartisan farm bill to the president’s desk that includes subsidies to farmers and legalizes hemp. We’ll unpack.


Catherine Boudreau, food and agriculture reporter, Politico. (@ceboudreau)

Chad Wilson, industrial hemp grower, owner of Sacred Seed Farm. Co-owner of the Louisville-based business Green Remedy, which extracts CBD oil from hemp.

Caroline Kitchens, director of federal government affairs at the conservative think tank The R Street Institute, where she focuses on agriculture issues. (@cl_kitchens)

From The Reading List

Washington Post: "Congress just passed an $867 billion farm bill. Here’s what’s in it." — "Congress has voted for an $867 billion farm bill with strong bipartisan support, spurred in part by pressure from farmers battered by President Trump’s trade war with China.

"In a 386-47 vote, the House of Representatives Wednesday approved a bill which allocates billions of dollars in subsidies to American farmers, legalizes hemp, bolsters farmers markets and rejects stricter limits on food stamps pushed by House Republicans. President Trump is expected to soon sign it into law.

"The Senate passed the legislation in an 87-to-13 vote on Tuesday.

"Congressional negotiators said they faced demands to complete the bill from farmers and ranchers who have seen steep declines in commodities prices as a result of the trade dispute with China."

Forbes: "How Hemp And The Farm Bill May Change Life As You Know It" — "Imagine a sweater softer than anything you've ever felt before, and more durable than cotton.

"Imagine a car built with something lighter than steel that could stand 10 times the impact without denting.

"Imagine if you could save four acres of trees by making paper from a single acre of a rapid-growing plant, instead.

"Imagine biodegradable Legos.`

"Now imagine all this possibility actually exists but you can't enjoy any of it because people in power once decided the plant from which it's all derived has a scorned cousin named "marijuana." If you can wrap your mind around this dereliction of logic, only then can you begin to understand the painfully silly policies America's had in place that have kept hemp from coating our farmland with hues of pale yellow and light green.

That longstanding logic has been costly for our country. United States' hemp prohibition has suppressed potential jobs for farmers, products for consumers, and medicine for patients."

NBC News: "Hemp industry expected to blossom under new Farm Bill" — "The U.S. hemp industry is expecting business to expand and investors to beckon after Congress on Wednesday passed farm legislation that included a provision to legalize and regulate the plant under the Department of Agriculture.

"'This is a monumental bill for hemp farming,' said Lauren Stansbury, communications director for Vote Hemp, a national lobbying organization for hemp producers.

"The bill, awaiting President Trump's signature, opens the door to state-by-state regulation, removes hemp, which is part of the cannabis plant family, from the federal enforcement of outlaw drugs and gives hemp farmers access to banking, crop insurance and federal grants, experts said."

Brian Hardzinski produced this hour for broadcast.

This program aired on December 18, 2018.



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