In 2018 the US Senate and House enacted the Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, in which they again authorized the expenditures approved in the 2014 bill. The US Senate focused on many things in the 2018 bill, where some postulates weren’t liked by the democrats stating that it might liberalize immigration policy, and the Hemp bill overjoyed some. In this article, let’s discuss some salient features of the 2018 Farm Bill and a few of the most important ones.

Key Points of the Farm Bill 2018

  • Providing nutrition assistance, where the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP will continue from 2014 approval with minor changes.
  • Assuring the insurance of crops by farmers – remains the same as in 2014.
  • Supporting commodities’ production and supply – remains the same as in 2014.
  • Conservation of the food produce.
  • Expansions for projects such as trading, sanctions, and research, regional foods, energy, and organic culture, focus on specialty crops and enhancing the support to ranchers, vets, and those who are socially disadvantaged.
  • Production of hemp containing less than 0.3% of THC was legalized.
  • Single most significant commitment by the US government to the agricultural sector.

Why is the Farm Bill 2018 So Important?

  • It will give the general populace the roadmap of government spending for the next five years.
  • The US Authorities will follow the spending in a more Federal Budget Legislative Process and how these funds will be spent each year.
  • The contenders of the coming elections will need to consider the reauthorization of the farm bill again in 2023. This reauthorization will push stakeholders to engage with agricultural leadership on both the Democrat’s and Republican sides.

What is the Estimated Cost of the Farm Bill?

  • There were two spending portions of the bill, which were mandatory and discretionary.
  • Most mandatory spendings are for programs that will count as entitlement, and the estimated costs for them will be about $428 billion over five years. Nutrition, Farm commodities, Crop insurance, and conservation titles account for 99% of the mandatory spending. 
  • The discretionary portions will be funded directly from the Farm Bill when necessary and may get smaller appropriations but annually and, in most cases, much less than the mandatory billing portion.

Hemp Production

While being made illegal in the 1970s due to the Controlled Substance Act, hemp has come a long way, from the production of pilot projects to proper cultivation. This act and bill will allow individuals and companies authorized to distribute hemp across state borders and exclude it from the main category of cannabis. Its sale, distribution, and usage are allowed as long as it is under the laws defined by the government.

The hemp seed doesn’t contain THC or CBD, so it can be grown to produce hemp seed protein powder, seed oil, etc. 

Liberalization of Immigration Policy 

All democrats and around 30 or so republicans were against some provisions of the 2018 bill, which may lead to liberalizing immigration policy, and believed they should do it right. According to them, the SNAP program may impose work requirements on recipients. The House removed these work requirements later before passing the 2018 Farm Bill.

Enhanced Opportunities for Beginners and Farmers that are Socially Disadvantaged

Before beginning, farmers, ranchers, and other socially disadvantaged family farmers had many issues getting things approved by the US Department of Agriculture. Instead, to support the said groups, there will be a hand of around 100 million farmland acres to these families in the five years after the bill’s passing. These farmlands are more than enough to support tens of thousands of these ranchers and socially disadvantaged Families.

These families will get enhancements in the following:

  • Affordable farmlands, insurance for their crops, easy access to credit.
  • More outreach and technical assistance, especially for the underserved farming communities.
  • Learning and training for farmers on the latest skills and technologies to keep up space with all the advancements.
  • Conservation commitment and a heightened sense of stewardship encouraged.

Crop Commodity Support Programs

Commodities support comes under Title 1 of the 2018 farm act, in which PLC, the Price Loss Coverage, and ARC, the Agriculture Risk Coverage, will support the farmers. Authorized by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, these two programs will finance the farming community if their crop prices fall below a specific value, no matter the production planning of that month or season. The most common crops covered within this program are oats, wheat, seed cotton, barley, sorghum, and many more.

Similar to the 2014 Act, growers can choose to participate in either ARC or PLC, but starting with the 2021 crop year, they can alter their program selections annually. The compensation calculations for PLC and ARC now consider changes in the insured product’s market rate and can climb up to 15% over the price floors (also known as reference prices) outlined in the 2014 Farm Act.

Rural Development

Coming under Title VI and XII, this program will provide support and assistance to rural communities and improve their health outcomes while improving the planning and coordination of different community and economic projects. These projects include health facilities, waste disposal and treatment facilities, support for businesses, and further electrification, cybersecurity, and rural energy support.

The Secretary was instructed to prioritize or set aside money for telehealth initiatives, community clinics, and rural safety and wellness education initiatives focusing on drug misuse disorder prevention, treatment, or rehabilitation.

The program further provides financial assistance, subsidies, and other forms of aid to rural areas for broadband services, prioritizing those socioeconomically disadvantaged and lacking access to high-speed internet. Furthermore, raising the broadband minimum acceptable standards for particular projects is also included.

So, in general, this program will support the community by giving community healthcare issues more attention, primarily through the allocation of program funds. The Rural Health and Safety Initiative for treatment and education projects aimed at reducing drug abuse in rural towns and Community Facilities applications that provide establishments for services, including tele-health services, designed to prevent, treat, and aid in rehabilitating drug abuse.

About the author
Adrian Mota

Hi there, I'm Adrian! I'm passionate about cannabinoids – My journey into this fascinating world began with a curiosity to understand how these compounds interact with our bodies. I've been digging into how they work in our bodies and what benefits they might offer. From exploring their various uses and perks to understanding the importance of safety considerations, I'm here to deliver clear and concise information to empower others. My aim is to help everyone get a grasp on cannabinoids so you can make smart choices as you browse through different brands and products.