Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018

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Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleTo provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2023, and for other purposes.
Enacted bythe 115th United States Congress
Public law115-334
Legislative history

The 2018 farm bill or Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is an enacted United States farm bill that reauthorized $867 billion for many expenditures approved in the prior farm bill (the Agricultural Act of 2014). The bill was passed by the Senate and House on December 11 and 12, 2018, respectively.[1][2] On December 20, 2018, it was signed into law by President Donald Trump.[3]


On May 18, 2018, the bill failed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 198–213. All Democrats and 30 Republicans voted against the measure. Republican opposition came largely from members of the conservative Freedom Caucus who believed that some of the bill's provisions would liberalize immigration policy. One of the caucus members, Congressman Jim Jordan, said, "My main focus was making sure we do immigration policy right." Democratic opposition was largely due to the proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that would impose work requirements for recipients.[4] In the runup to introduction in Congress, the American Soybean Association had opposed any cuts versus the 2014 version.[5]

On September 30, some provisions of the 2014 farm bill expired without a replacement[6] while others were funded through end of calendar year 2018.[7] Sticking points were said to be SNAP work requirements, commodity and energy policy, funding, and cotton and other crop subsidies.[8][9] In late November, a compromise had been reached, removing SNAP work requirements, and the legislation was voted on and passed by the end of the year.[10]


The bill "largely continues current farm and nutrition policy" and does not include new requirements for SNAP (food stamps) recipients, but did increase funding for the SNAP Employment and Training Program.[11][12] The bill also reauthorized Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and other nutrition programs.[12] The 2018 Farm Bill also increased funding for TEFAP and the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grant program.[12] Some previously temporary programs were made permanent in the 2018 farm bill including promotional funds for farmers markets, organic farming research funds, funding of organizing and education of future farmers, and funding for veteran and minority farmers.[13]

Incorporating some of the text of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, the farm bill descheduled some cannabis products from the Controlled Substances Act for the first time.[10][14][15][16] One estimate put the U.S. CBD market at $2.3 billion to $23 billion by the 2020s,[17][18] enabled by the 2018 farm bill. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell was such a proponent of the hemp provision that American Military News reported that McConnell coined the Twitter hashtag #HempFarmBill.[19]

The 2018 Farm Bill establishes a new federal hemp regulatory system under the US Department of Agriculture which aims to facilitate the commercial cultivation, processing, and marketing of hemp.[20] The 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp and hemp seeds from the statutory definition of marijuana and the DEA schedule of Controlled Substances. It even makes hemp an eligible crop under the federal crop insurance program. The 2018 Farm Bill also allows the transfer of hemp and hemp-derived products across state lines provided the hemp was lawfully produced under a State or Indian Tribal plan or under a license issued under the USDA plan.[21] The hemp legalization is restricted to plants with low levels of delta-9-THC. It may have inadvertently legalized delta-8-THC, which is also psychoactive and has since become more popular recreationally across the U.S.[22]

Additional revenue to farmers and processors is expected from textiles and other hemp products.[17] The Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2018 was passed as part of the bill.[23]


  1. ^ Niels Lesniewski (December 11, 2018), "Mitch McConnell Touting Victory With Hemp Legalization on Farm Bill", Roll Call Issue is becoming an early plank of the Kentucky Republican's 2020 re-election bid
  2. ^ Juliegrace Brufke (December 12, 2018), "House passes $867 billion farm bill, sending it to Trump", The Hill
  3. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Is Improving American Agriculture Programs",, December 20, 2018 – via National Archives
  4. ^ Snell, Kelsey; Naylor, Brian (May 18, 2018), House Farm Bill Fails As Conservatives Revolt Over Immigration, NPR, retrieved May 19, 2018
  5. ^ "American Soybean" (PDF). American Soybean. Vol. 5, no. 2. American Soybean Association. Fall 2017. pp. 1–26. p. 8
  6. ^ "Congress fails to pass Farm Bill by Sept. 30, 2018", American Agriculturalist, October 1, 2018, retrieved November 20, 2018
  7. ^ Ronnfeldt, Cody (November 1, 2018), Deadline fast approaching for passage of new Farm Bill, WJAG, retrieved November 20, 2018
  8. ^ McCrimmon, Ryan (September 27, 2018), "Farm bill to get lame-duck treatment", Politico, retrieved November 20, 2018
  9. ^ Evich, Helena Bottemiller; Boudreau, Catherine (October 8, 2018), "Cotton growers vs. urban farmers: Bitter partisan fight threatens farm bill", Politico, retrieved November 20, 2018
  10. ^ a b Teaganne Finn; Erik Wasson; Daniel Flatley (November 29, 2018), Lawmakers Reach Farm Bill Deal by Dumping GOP Food-Stamp Rules, Bloomberg, The bill includes a provision that would make hemp a legal agricultural commodity after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky championed the proposal, even joining the farm bill conference committee to ensure it would be incorporated. Among other changes to existing law, hemp will be removed from the federal list of controlled substances and hemp farmers will be able to apply for crop insurance.
  11. ^ Helena Bottemiller Evich; Catherine Boudreau (December 12, 2018), "Farm bill headed to Trump after landslide House approval", Politico
  12. ^ a b c Aussenberg, Randy Alison; Billings, Kara Clifford (January 30, 2019), 2018 Farm Bill Primer: SNAP and Nutrition Title Programs, Congressional Research Service
  13. ^ Stein, Jeff (December 12, 2018). "Congress just passed an $867 billion farm bill. Here's what's in it". Washington Post.
  14. ^ Adam Drury (November 30, 2018), "Industrial Hemp is Now Included in the 2018 Farm Bill", High Times, This year's Farm Bill, however, goes much further, changing federal law on industrial and commercial hemp and, remarkably, introducing the first-ever changes to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
  15. ^ "Reconciled Farm Bill Includes Provisions Lifting Federal Hemp Ban", Legislative blog, NORML, November 29, 2018, The [bill] for the first time amends the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance. (See page 1182, Section 12608: 'Conforming changes to controlled substances act.') Certain cannabinoid compounds extracted from the hemp plant would also be exempt from the CSA.
  16. ^ Ellyn Ferguson (December 5, 2018), "Final Farm Bill Would Make Hemp Legal, Other Details Revealed", Roll Call, The proposed compromise bill also would make agricultural production of hemp legal in the United States by removing its designation as a drug akin to marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.
  17. ^ a b Dennis Romero (December 16, 2018), Hemp industry expected to blossom under new Farm Bill, NBC
  18. ^ Jeremy Nobile (December 16, 2018), "Federal legalization could pave way for Ohio hemp market, but uncertainties remain", Crain's Cleveland Business
  19. ^ Melissa Leon (November 29, 2018), "CBD is about to revolutionize the veteran community and PTSD, taking America by storm", American Military News
  20. ^ Hemp and the 2018 Farm Bill, August 20, 2019
  21. ^ Hemp and the 2018 Farm Bill, August 20, 2019
  22. ^ Rob Mentzer (January 4, 2022). "A loophole in federal marijuana law has led to the creation of new THC product". NPR.
  23. ^ President Trump signs the Farm Bill making dog and cat meat illegal in the United States, WRDW, December 21, 2018, retrieved December 27, 2018 {{citation}}: Unknown parameter |agency= ignored (help)

Further reading

External links


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