WASHINGTON - A bipartisan farm bill is now headed to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
It comes at a time when many American farmers have been struggling.
Supporters of the 2018 Farm bill say, among other things, it brings stability
After a year in which everything from natural disasters to President Trump’s tariffs have impacted farmers, many of whom have seen their problems grow and their profits shrink.
"We wanted to protect farmers in light of some of the potential trade wars going on. We have done that," said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.
“It’s so good for so many of the farmers. The heirs property is going to help farmers of color more than anything else," said Sen Doug Jones, D-Ala.
The bill also gives aid to farmers markets and legalizes industrial hemp, a form of cannabis that doesn’t get you high but produces oil used for medicinal purposes..and may give struggling tobacco farmers an alternate crop.
Legalizing hemp has been a top priority of Sen Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
"We’ve got hundreds of farmers who see this as a productive agricultural commodity," Wyden said in an interview Wednesday.
The Farm Bill is also responsible for funding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , or SNAP, also known as food stamps.
An effort to add in a work requirement for some food stamp recipients was derailed, and will be left out the law, which provides 867 billion dollars over ten years.
“No legislation is perfect but i thought overall it was a pretty good farm bill," said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
One criticism of the bill here on capitol hill has to do with taxpayer funded subsidies.
Those will stay, including to some wealthier farmers and even expands who qualifies for those subsidies, to extended family members
"They’ve added nieces and nephews and cousins into a farming operation, you get a title of being a manager and you can quality for subsidies. You don’t even have to have dirt under your fingernails," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R, Iowa, who voted against the bill.
But it passed both chambers nonetheless, and is expected to be signed into law by the end of the year.