McConnell to Serve as a Key Negotiator on Farm Bill Conference Committee

Mitch McConnell

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was officially named as a Senate member for the Farm Bill Conference Committee. The Conference Committee includes members from both chambers who will reconcile the Senate and House versions of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill). On the Conference, Senator McConnell is joined by Representative James Comer (KY-01), who was named as a House conferee in July.

“I have proudly served on the Agriculture Committee since my first day in the Senate and know exactly how important this legislation is to agricultural communities across Kentucky, so as Majority Leader, I put myself on the Conference, and we’re ready to get to work to ensure the future of American agriculture,” said Senator McConnell. “I will advocate for Kentucky’s multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry that supports thousands of good jobs and families in nearly every corner of the Commonwealth. Additionally, I will strongly advocate to legalize industrial hemp. I’m optimistic that my Hemp Farming Act, which I secured in the Senate bill, will be included in the final bill sent to the President for his signature. I am also glad to have the support of Congressman Comer on the Conference for legalizing industrial hemp.”

Kentucky Farm Bureau (KYFB) President Mark Haney said, “The Farm Bill is important to farm families and rural communities in Kentucky and across the country. It is critical to the agriculture industry to get this piece of legislation finalized and on the President’s desk. The process of bringing the House and Senate versions together is about to begin. Kentucky Farm Bureau is grateful to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for making the passage of the Farm Bill a priority and choosing to appoint himself to the conference committee. The Commonwealth will be well-represented with Congressman James Comer also serving. I would like to thank these agriculture champions for their continued support of this bill and for their commitment to the hard-working farmers who provide the valuable food and fiber needed in our state, this nation, and around the world.”

In June, the Senate passed the Farm Bill, which seeks to strengthen a number of programs important to farmers, particularly during a time when they face historically low commodity prices and heightened market uncertainty. The Senate bill seizes on a number of opportunities to invest in the future of American agriculture and rural communities. It also focuses on expanding rural broadband and water infrastructure and continuing the fight against the opioid epidemic, which is devastating rural America. The Senate Farm Bill also contained Senator McConnell’s provision (The Hemp Farming Act of 2018) — that would empower farmers to begin cultivating industrial hemp, a crop that has potential to benefit Kentucky and the nation. The Senator’s measure would:

  •    Legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity by removing it from the federal list of controlled substances;
    
  •    Give states the opportunity to become the primary regulators of hemp production;
    
  •    Allow hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and
    
  •    Make hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance.
    

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