farm bill

kyagr.com

Area farmers are waiting for more details on the farm bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday to see how it will affect their operations.

Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture Dean Tony Brannon says the new bill gets rid of the base farmers have received for growing certain major crops, which will save $5 billion a year.

Evelyn Simak, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

An amendment legalizing hemp production for research has made it into the Farm Bill that will be up for a vote soon in Congress. The amendment, co-sponsored by Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, allows universities and state agriculture departments to grow hemp for study purposes.

Wikimedia Commons

The four subcommittee leaders charged with finding a compromise on the federal Farm Bill are scheduled to meet tomorrow, just ten days before a Dec. 13 deadline to reach a compromise.

Author: Jim Champion, via Wikimedia Commons

With the U.S. government reopened and a budget crisis averted for now, Congress has shifted it's attention towards the Farm Bill. 

The multi-year legislation governs agriculture programs and ranges from regulating food prices and rural development to conservation and nutrition assistance. The bill has caused contention among members over spending cuts, and the past shutdown has only slowed discussion.  

Kentucky Farm Bureau Director of National Affairs Joe Cain said if Congress doesn’t reauthorize crop insurance provisions by the January 1st deadline, it would cause uncertainty for farming lenders and could result in a rise in food prices.

KY Congressmen Look For Bipartisanship In Farm bill

Oct 11, 2013
U.S. Congress

Kentucky Representatives Ed Whitfield, Andy Barr and Brett Guthrie are calling on House Speaker John Boehner to assign farm bill conferees from the House of Representatives to meet with Senate conferees.

They want an across-the-aisle agreement on a new long-term farm bill.

News of the partial government shutdown has overshadowed the October first expiration of the Farm Bill, which sets the nation’s policies on farming and nutrition. 

Calloway County Dairy farmer Jim Stahler said he believes most Kentucky farmers continue their daily operations. He said if one aspect of the Farm Bill is not addressed before the end of the year it will affect people’s pocketbooks more than farmers’ operations.

Wikimedia Commons

An amendment to legalize the growing of industrial hemp for research passed the U.S. House Thursday by an eight-vote margin, the first to pass in fifty years. 

The amendment is part of the Farm Bill and allows colleges and universities to cultivate industrial hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes.  However, it only applies to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal. 

The so-called farm bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. And it crashed. The defeat shocked many observers, but the vote wasn't even particularly close: 234-195. (You can see how your own representative voted here.)

UPDATE: The House just made Massie's amendment a moot point by rejecting the farm bill in a 234-195 bipartisan vote.

Earlier: Colleges and universities would be allowed to grow hemp for academic research under an amendment to the farm bill approved by a bipartisan vote in the House on Thursday.

The proposal was introduced by Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie along with Democrats Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado, and passed by a 225-to-200 vote. It applies only to states that have authorized the crops cultivation.

A majority of Kentucky’s congressional representatives have been vocal supporters for easing federal restrictions on hemp, which is illegal to grow in the U.S. due to its genetic relation to marijuana. Opponents against the language argued the amendment will hamper law enforcement efforts because the crop is difficult to distinguish between its cannabis cousin.

But Massie says hemp is not marijuana, adding the amendment will help move the research forward to one day allow farmers to grow the crop legally.

"People think it’s about drugs but when they get done laughing about the word hemp and realize industrial hemp is not marijuana they realize it’s a jobs bill and an opportunity for Kentucky farmers," he says. "What this amendment does is it carves out a very small exception for universities to do research without running afoul of the drug laws. And I hope it’s a precursor to allowing all of the farmers in Kentucky to grow industrial hemp."

From NPR: Farmers are peering over a dairy cliff as they wait for Congress to pass the new farm bill. With this summer’s drought their feed is more valuable than the milk the cows produce after eating it.

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