Commissioner Hugh Weathers Pleased with new Farm Bill

The House and Senate approved the Farm Bill last week and we are here with Commissioner Weathers to talk about the new legislation that will set federal agricultural and food policy for the next five years.

  • I am very pleased that our friends in Washington were able to get this done before we all turn to the holidays and I am hopeful that many factors of this new legislation with directly assist South Carolina and our farmers
  • USDA recently announced net farm income is projected to drop 12 percent in 2018, falling to levels not experienced since 2002 when adjusted for inflation.
  • The legislation reauthorizes and strengthens the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) options through 2023. The Bill offers producers a new choice between ARC and PLC on a crop-by-crop and farm-by-farm basis, applied jointly to the 2019 and 2020 crop years. Beginning in crop year 2021, producers will have flexibility to make an annual decision between ARC and PLC on a crop-by-crop and farm-by-farm basis

Peanut Parity Act

  • SC has the fourth largest peanut industry in the country, yet our state was not represented on the Peanut Standards Board at US Department of Agriculture.
  • Sponsored by Senators Graham and Scott in the Senate and Representative Wilson in the House, the act will now put an individual from our state on the Board
  • This gives our farmer a seat at the table and a voice on the national level

Dairy

  • The industry has continued to struggle with consistent low prices and the new legislation strengthens the dairy safety net
  • Program offers dairy producers the ability to buy insurance-type coverage to protect against low margins

Hemp

  • This has been a hot topic in our state since legislation passed for the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. In 2018, we were able to permit 20 growers and for 2019, we were able to permit 40.
  • With the passing of the Farm Bill, it removes industrial hemp from the list of Schedule I controlled substances, allowing for the development of a whole new range of products using cannabis extracts
  • The text in the Farm Bill now labels industrial hemp a crop like soybeans or corn rather than a drug