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President Donald Trump today signed the 2018 “Agriculture Improvement Act,” known to most Americans as the Farm Bill, removing industrial hemp from the controlled substances list. The historic legislation allows farmers and producers to grow and sell industrial hemp for the first time in over 80 years.
There was strong bipartisan support for the bill in Congress, which last week passed a sweeping $867 billion Farm Bill. President Trump was expected to sign the bill into law this week, spurred in part by pressure from farmers battered by an on-going trade war with China that has disproportionately affected U.S. producers of soy and other agricultural goods.
For hemp producers across the U.S., the Farm Bill is nothing but historic. “The Farm Bill…both legalizes hemp as an agricultural commodity and removes it from the controlled substances list. It gives states the opportunity to be the primary overseers of hemp production. It also allows hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and made hemp eligible for federal crop insurance. Together these features will encourage new opportunities for struggling farmers and their families, new products for use in construction, health care, and manufacturing, and new jobs in a broad range of fields,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), sponsor of the hemp provision.
The final five-year Farm Bill sets policies and reauthorizes farm, conservation, nutrition, rural development, agricultural trade and other programs. In an interview with Fox Business News earlier today, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue welcomed the new hemp legalization. “This is an industrial-use product, medicinally as well as other products, and we look forward to developing markets for it if it’s a profitable crop. Agriculture needs new products,” he said.
From Left: Sonny Perdue, Donald Trump, Mike Pence
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