Updated: Mar 30
In December 2018, the United States Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which was subsequently signed into law by President Donald Trump. The bill, formally known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, is a comprehensive piece of legislation that sets policies and funding for many aspects of American agriculture and food production.
The 2018 Farm Bill is a continuation of a series of laws passed by Congress every five years since the 1930s. These bills provide support and funding for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities across the United States. The previous farm bill, passed in 2014, focused on reducing government spending on farm programs and increasing crop insurance programs. The 2018 Farm Bill, on the other hand, is a more expansive piece of legislation that touches on many different aspects of American agriculture.
One of the most notable changes in the 2018 Farm Bill is the legalization of hemp production. Hemp is a type of cannabis plant that contains very low levels of THC. Hemp has been used for centuries to make textiles, paper, and other products, but it has been illegal to grow in the United States since the 1930s. The 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp from the federal list of controlled substances, which means that farmers can now grow and sell hemp legally. This has created a new industry for farmers and entrepreneurs who want to produce hemp for CBD oil, fiber, and other products.
Another significant aspect of the 2018 Farm Bill is its support for conservation efforts. The bill provides funding for programs that help farmers and ranchers conserve land, water, and other natural resources. It also provides funding for research into sustainable agriculture practices, such as cover cropping and no-till farming, which can help reduce soil erosion, improve soil health, and increase the productivity of farmland over the long term.
The 2018 Farm Bill also includes provisions to support rural communities. It provides funding for programs that support small business development, such as the Rural Business Development Grant program and the Rural Energy for America Program. It also provides funding for programs that help rural communities access high-speed internet, which is essential for economic development and access to modern health care and educational opportunities.
One area of the 2018 Farm Bill that has received criticism is its support for large agribusinesses. The bill provides subsidies for commodity crops such as corn and soybeans, which are often grown by large agribusinesses. Critics argue that these subsidies are unfair to small farmers and can lead to overproduction and lower prices for farmers.
Overall, the 2018 Farm Bill is a complex piece of legislation that touches on many different aspects of American agriculture and rural life. Its legalization of hemp production, support for conservation efforts, and funding for rural communities make it an important piece of legislation for farmers, ranchers, and rural residents across the United States.