What Is The 2018 Farm Bill and Why Should I Care?

Last month was a big deal for CBD and Hemp and there is a great deal to celebrate. Let’s break down what really happened and what has yet to happen.  

The United States Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill by a vote of 87-13 in December of 2018, essentially ending the prohibition on hemp cultivation that has been in effect for decades. After being passed by the Senate, the 2018 Farm Bill was passed by the House with a landslide vote of 369-47. The bill was then sent to President Trump to be signed by the end of the year. At the end of December,

Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill making it immediately go into effect.

Now that the Farm Bill has been signed, the bill comes with the following changes:

The Farm Bill will enable farmers in all 50 states will be allowed to cultivate hemp for any use, including the production of cannabis flower (what you likely know as the “bud” of the plant), CBD and other forms cannabinoid extraction such as that used for vaping CBD.

The Farm Bill also makes it clear that licensed hemp producers who grow cannabis plants that exceed the THC limitation of 0.3% will not be committing a crime.

The Farm Bill will allow commerce between states for hemp and hemp-derived CBD.

The Farm Bill will provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the job of overseeing hemp production, with direction to come up with rules “as expeditiously as practicable.”

The Farm Bill will legalize hemp production in U.S. territories and on Indian tribal land (a provision that was not included under the 2014 Farm Bill).

The Farm Bill will also provide access to federally backed farm support programs, including crop insurance, federal water access and low-interest loans for new farmers.

Allow hemp producers to “bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill “temporary agricultural jobs.”

The Farm Bill will do away with existing barriers to obtaining intellectual property protections under federal law, such as patents and trademarks.

The Farm Bill will impose a 10-year ban for federal drug felons, meaning they cannot participate in the hemp program.

The Farm Bill will also mean that the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consult with the U.S. attorney general on the rules and regulations governing the hemp industry.  

Essentially, the 2018 Farm Bill removes most of the barriers to growing, producing, marketing, and funding the hemp industry through all of the channels that other industries currently use.

Other Changes to Come

Hemp was not the only major change that happened with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. Farm subsidies were expanded to allow nieces, nephews, and cousins of farmers to receive up to $125,000 each if they are involved in the farm. Before this expansion, the subsidy only applied to immediate family.

Organic farming will benefit from the signed bill as well. $395 million has been budgeted for organic research, which is more than two times the previous budget.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be making changes after the signing of the bill. The program will be focusing on assisting participants in the program to find work and supplement during difficult times. In 2016 there were 3.8 million individual ABAWDs on the SNAP rolls, with 2.8 million (or almost 74 percent) of them not working. The goal of SNAP moving forward will be to help individuals get back on their feet versus allowing them to depend on the program lifelong. For more information about the changes to come, visit the USDA website.

You may be asking yourself, “what does SNAP have to do with farms?”

Farmers depend on customers buying their produce at local farmers markets and grocery stores. SNAP recipients make up a good portion of the customers buying this produce locally, which helps keep the local farmers in business. Along with enabling more customers for the farmers, SNAP provides support for many employed within the Agriculture industry. 28 percent of agricultural graders and sorters depend on the program to survive, the highest of any job category, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The people working hard to bring food to our tables at times cannot afford to put food on their own tables at home.