After 8 months of disagreement and deliberation, the farm bill of 2018 made it through the House of Representatives on December 12 with a final tally of 369 – 47. The bill had passed the Senate just a day earlier. All that’s left now is for President Trump to sign the bill into law, a decision which most are confident will happen soon.
Once passed into law, the 2018 farm bill will provide $867 billion over the next 10 years to a wealth of agricultural-based programs, grants, and initiatives. Additionally, the farm bill brings some changes.
Arguably the biggest change is the legalization of hemp production in all 50 states. Hemp, a cannabis plant sometimes confused with marijuana was originally made illegal to grow in 1970 due to the Controlled Substances Act. While it has reached degrees of legality since, much of its production, use, and distribution has been strictly controlled under drug enforcement laws.
The bill will help clear the red tape, encouraging farmers to grow hemp and placing the USDA as the overseers of hemp production.
What was to be another significant change disappeared during recent revisions of the farm bill. Initially, Republicans had pushed for large cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP, along with other nutritional programs accounts for nearly 80% of the farm bill budget. As it stands, SNAP will remain relatively untouched.
2018 Farm Bill and Conservation
Like its predecessors, the 2018 farm bill continues to fund environmental and conservation programs across the country. Most of these programs will continue as they have the past 4 years. The Conservation Reserve Program, however, is seeing a small but positive change.
The land available for enrollment in CRP is being increased from 24 million acres to 27 million acres.
This is excellent news for farmers looking to repurpose excess or underperforming land into native grass and pollinator habitats.
If you’re wanting to join CRP, FDCE can help. We offer a turn key solution that handles seed purchasing, planting, and paperwork. With our 350,000+ acres of establishment experience, we know how to make the transition process as smooth as possible.
Thanks to CRP’s cost reimbursement, our services practically pay for themselves. Contact us today and enjoy the benefits of the 2018 farm bill.