The Senate Ag Committee passed its version of the farm bill last week. In the bill was legislation from Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (shown) to allow hemp farmers to receive federal crop insurance under the 2018 farm bill.
The Senate Ag Committee passed its version of the farm bill last week. In the bill was legislation from Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (shown) to allow hemp farmers to receive federal crop insurance under the 2018 farm bill.


By CBW Staff

Here is a brief run down on what has been happening in the nation’s capital city.


China trade wars continue
The Trump administratio took another aggressive step with China on June 15, announcing that 25 percent tariffs will start taking effect in July on Chinese technology imports.
The penalties on $50 billion in goods — primarily targeting products containing “industrially significant technologies,” like aerospace, robotics and automobiles — drew a swift rebuke from the Chinese government. Beijing promised that retaliation in equal measure against U.S. goods would take effect on the same day the U.S. duties kick in and called for other nations to take part, reports POLITICO.
A statement from U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight:
“The farmers and exporters we represent have been here before regarding China and they are well aware of what it’s like to deal with tariffs, counter-tariffs and policy restrictions. Since 2010, we have been adversely impacted by trade policy actions by China against U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), sorghum, ethanol and corn. China is a very important market for U.S. coarse grains and their co-products, but so too is the rest of the world. We will stay closely engaged with the China market and its importance to U.S. agriculture, but we will also redouble our efforts in the rest of the world to expand demand.
“We are concerned any tariff opens this market to our competitors and locking out U.S. products doesn’t mean trade stops – it means other partners will take our place. Bottom line: tariff battles are never productive.”

Senate farm bill would legalize hemp
An amendment to the Senate Farm Bill that recently passed out of the Ag Committee contains an amendment that would remove hemp from the federal definition of marijuana.
The amendment, sponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, would free up hemp farmers to receive federal crop insurance under the 2018 farm bill.
“I think it’s time we took this step,” McConnell told the Senate Ag Committee. “I think everybody has now figured out that this is clearly not the other plant (marijuana).”
McConnell says people in his home state who grew up with tobacco are hoping this will turn into a viable crop. “As we all know, hemp is very diversified,” McConnell says. “It can end up in your car dashboard, it can end up in your food, it can also end up in pharmaceuticals. It’s time to figure out and see where the market will take us.”
Not all the Ag Committee members supported the change, including Iowa Senator Charles Grassley. While the bill may be modified during Senate floor debate, hemp industry experts aren’t expecting much change because of good bipartisan support.
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version of the farm bill by a vote of 20-1 after a relatively drama-free markup though. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is on the committee, reiterated that he wants to bring the bill to the floor before the Fourth of July recess.

Livestock haulers bill
The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) The bill would establish a working group at the Department of Transportation to identify obstacles facing livestock haulers and develop guidelines for regulatory or legislative action to improve livestock transporation. Enforcement of the electronic logging device rule would be delayed until the working group outcomes are formally proposed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
“The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the producers we represent are glad to see another bipartisan effort designed to provide much-needed relief for livestock haulers. The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act requires the Secretary of the Department of Transportation to establish a working group to address the implementation of electronic logging devices and the overly-restrictive hours of service rules that livestock haulers face today. We look forward to continuing our work with members of Congress, industry groups, and the Department of Transportation as we work to find solutions to our current transportation concerns,” says National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester.