The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 (the “Bill”) introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, would provide a much needed stimulus for the United States rural economy. Given the pending risk of a trade war looming over agricultural businesses, the continuing decline in agricultural commodity prices, and the ever-present institutional risks facing producers, one might wonder why anyone would continue, let alone enter, the farming profession. The Bill offers hope, however, for the men and women who make their living off the land.
Diversification of crop production and strategic crop rotation are fundamental to a successful farming business. And, the planting and cultivation of hemp could be implemented into any number of crop rotations because it: (i) thrives in almost all climates; (ii) enriches the soil; (iii) uses less water than most other crops; and (iv) grows quickly. The Bill makes hemp a viable rotation crop by legitimizing it as an U.S. agricultural commodity through (i) advancing opportunities for hemp research, (ii) including it as a coverable commodity under the Federal Crop Insurance Act, and (iii) removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.
The Bill has bipartisan support and, for the sake of the rural economy and all those many industries who stand to deservingly benefit from its passage, we hope it soon becomes law.