Farm Bill News

From the desk of the executive director: Is industrial hemp an opportunity?

The most recent farm bill establishes a roadmap for the cultivation of industrial hemp. Congress was right to loosen the restriction on growing this crop, a non-psychoactive relative of marijuana.

Each state now has the opportunity to establish a regulatory framework under which industrial hemp may be cultivated. If a state does not act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will develop a uniform framework that will be applied in the state. The Center for Rural Affairs supports a bill working its way through the Nebraska Legislature to establish the framework in our home state.

Congressional appropriators: please fund farm bill programs

Every five years (or so), Congress passes legislation that shapes the day-to-day living of rural Americans. This legislation is a complex bundle of various programs and policies more commonly referred to as the farm bill. Key Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate influence the farm bill through work on their respective agriculture committees, which is a process that should not be taken lightly.

Rural values amplified in Washington, D.C.

Our policy efforts speak rural values to the elected officials and government administrators in Washington, D.C. Since the 2018 farm bill passed in December, we followed progress on the shutdown, traveled to Washington, D.C., and fought for funding that supports our rural small businesses. Here’s a brief summary.

Congress: protect farm bill conservation program mandatory funding

The undersigned organizations urge you to protect farm bill conservation program mandatory funding as you consider agriculture appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2020. We further request that you provide robust discretionary funding and support for NRCS field staff, as technical assistance is essential for the delivery of conservation support for farmers and ranchers across the country.

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