WASHINGTON D.C. – It’s a happy day for hemp advocates like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as the Senate Agricultural Committee voted 20-1 to approve 2018 Farm Bill legislation that includes provisions that would allow industrial hemp farming in the U.S.
Iowa’s GOP Senator Chuck Grassley reportedly cast the only no vote, citing the bill did not include his amendment to limit farm subsidies.
“Supporting Kentucky’s agriculture communities, this legislation will provide certainty to thousands of farm families while also protecting important tools like crop insurance,” McConnell said in a statement.
“After today’s important vote, Kentucky farmers are one step closer to having the opportunity to tap into the growing hemp market. By securing my hemp provision in the Farm Bill, we are building upon the successes of the hemp pilot programs and encouraging the great potential of this versatile crop.
“I would like to thank Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts for his work on this victory for our farmers, processors, and manufacturers. I look forward to considering this legislation on the Senate floor so we can continue to see new products with Kentucky-grown hemp in our state and throughout the nation,” McConnell added.
The bipartisan Farm Bill, also known as the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, and includes provisions and reforms for a broad platform of programs having to do with agriculture, from farm subsidies to food stamps. In today’s meeting, McConnell outlined other issues addressed by the bill including crop insurance, expanded WIFI for rural communities, battling the opioid crisis, and funding for water resource infrastructure.
He also spoke to committee members about the Hemp Farming Act included in the Farm Bill, and said Kentucky farmers are looking to industrial hemp crops to offset lessened demand for tobacco.
“I think it’s time that we took this step,” McConnell said to the committee regarding industrial hemp. “I think we’ve all figured out that this is not that other plant.”