Washington, D.C.—President Trump has signed the farm bill, which had bipartisan support in Congress, into law. The bill expands crop insurance coverage to new crops, including barley and hops, and legalizes industrial hemp.
Reactions from within the natural products industry were positive. “The era of hemp prohibition is over,” Jonathan Miller, General Counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, said in a statement. “Effective immediately, hemp is permanently deemed a legal agricultural commodity, and popular products such as hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) will no longer be mistaken as controlled substances, like marijuana.” Miller noted that this new law would provide economic opportunity to farmers and small businesses across the country.
As WholeFoods previously reported, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) applauded the 2018 Farm Bill conference committee for other aspects of the bill does: It establishes greater funding for organic research and for improving the oversight of global organic trade; it provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program, which will help it keep pace with industry growth and carry out compliance and enforcement actions in the U.S. and abroad; and it provides funding for the organic certification cost-share program that helps small and beginning farmers to transition to organic by relieving some of the costs associated with annual organic certification fees.
The bill took months to gather the support necessary in Congress, but removal of the work requirement for food stamp recipients got Democrats on board, while maintaining Republican support. Hours before the President signed the bill, however, USA Today reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had proposed a rule that would tighten work requirements for the millions of Americans who receive federal food assistance.
MORE: For more perspectives from the natural products industry on what the passage of the farm bill means for CBD sales, click here to read expanded coverage in WholeFoods magazine.