By Stephanie Mercier

Our history shows the way.  Hemp was one of the earliest crops grown commercially in this country, long before the United States actually became a sovereign nation.  The first formal record of its production appeared in a tax revenue document in the colony of Virginia in 1632.  Raw hemp and hemp products were a key export from the American colonies to Great Britain, used for ship rigging, clothing, maps, books, sails and tents.  Contemporaneous records indicate that two of our first three Presidents, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, raised hemp on their Virginia plantations.  This crop, along with wheat and corn, was commonly planted on farms as the United States expanded westward, although not in large acreage overall.

Continue reading “Hemp — A New Opportunity for US Farmers”

Oregon cowboy kids. Photo: Baker County Toursim

In addition to the discretionary cuts to USDA funding described in last week’s blog, the President’s FY19 budget also proposed $254 billion in cuts over ten years to programs in the four main titles of the farm bill, nutrition, crop insurance, commodities, and conservation.

 

Continue reading “Mandatory Farm Program Cuts in FY ’19 Budget Proposal”

Biofuel corn warehouse by Dennis Schroeder/NREL

By Stephanie Mercier

 

The U.S. government has been enacting farm bills to provide financial support to farmers since the passage of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, in the throes of the Great Depression.  There have been 17 farm bills passed since that time, with the current legislation, the Agricultural Act of 2014, scheduled to expire on October 1, 2018.  The House and Senate Agriculture Committees have been at work since the spring of 2017, holding hearings to examine the impacts of shifting market conditions on the performance of U.S. farm bill programs, not just commodity and crop insurance programs but also a broad range of policies covering issues such as nutrition, agricultural trade, conservation, research and extension, forestry, farm credit, horticultural and organic agriculture, renewable energy, and rural economic development.   Many of these policy areas have been added to farm bills in the last few decades.

Continue reading “Federal Policies Affecting Farmers”

Wheat harvest in Oregon by Jim Choate

Op-Ed, by Stephanie Mercier

 

Since the first farm bill, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, was enacted in 1933, there have been nine farm bills passed during the administrations of Republican presidents and nine farm bills enacted under Democratic presidents.  The upcoming farm bill, to replace the Agricultural Act of 2014 that expires on October 1, 2018, which is expected to be completed during the next few years during the Administration of President Donald Trump, would break that tie.

 

The new President has made few comments about farm bill policy during his first year in office, although he did promise to ‘support a farm bill that includes crop insurance’ in a recent speech to farmers attending the 2018 American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Nashville, TN.  

Continue reading “Presidents and U.S. Farm Bills – An Often-Uneasy Marriage”