Senate passes $867 billion farm bill that would legalize hemp, expand subsidies

Congress drafts compromise Farm Bill, eliminates SNAP work requirements

The bill package allocates $867 billion federal dollars over 10 years.

Today the House of Representatives answered farmers and ranchers call to action and passed the 2018 Farm Bill. "We made the compromises we needed to make to get this deal done", House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway of Texas told reporters last month. Lawmakers passed that rule 206-203 - with the votes of five Democrats, including Maryland Rep.

The bill maintains current limits on farm subsidies, but includes a House provision to expand the definition of family to include first cousins, nieces and nephews, making them eligible for payments under the program. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Sen.

The measure reauthorizes crop insurance and conservation programs and pays for trade programs, bioenergy production and organic farming research.

The federal government heavily regulates and restricts commercial use of hemp because of its relation to cannabis. Hemp production is now permitted only for licensed farmers in Minnesota, is under a pilot program for licensed farmers in North Dakota and is prohibited in South Dakota (though there have been some recent efforts to change that).

As far as congressional staffers who want to file lawsuits against lawmakers, House staffers would also have access to House counsel to pursue claims, while Senate staffers would not. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the Senate bill's sponsor.

Welch said the dairy farm insurance program in the bill will bring better coverage at a better price and will benefit smaller dairy farms of 250 cows or less that are "hanging on by their fingernails". Both Minnesota senators voted to advance the proposal.

Thune, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he introduced roughly 40 farm bill-related initiatives to strengthen the farm bill.

The Farm Bill, as it is commonly known, provides assistance to farmers and people in poverty.

The legislation, announced Wednesday by Blunt and Sen. "This long-term farm bill provides producers with the tools they need to succeed now and in the coming years". The program will survive under the final version of the bill, aides said.

Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, who will replace Heitkamp next year after a contentious Senate race, said the legislation isn't flawless, but it "provides farmers, ranchers and rural Americans the certainty and stability they deserve".

"The deal comes after almost a yearlong standoff between the House and the Senate over member liability and other issues in the bill", reports NPR.

Campbell says the farm bill awaiting President Trump's signatures doesn't appear to change much for Kansas farmers.

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., attends a news conference after the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol, Nov. 29, 2017.

Yoho expresses some disappointment in regards to the SNAP program but says he will celebrate victories such as reforms to hold food nutritional programs more accountable.

McMorris Rodgers said she supported the additional work requirements, but voted Wednesday to support the compromise version without them.

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