Senate Ag Committee Overwhelmingly Passes Farm Bill

The U.S Senate Agriculture Committee gave its stamp of approval today on a lightly-revamped Farm Bill. The bipartisan bill passes the panel by a vote of 20-1.

Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Ks.) worked closely with top panel Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan to produce the legislation, which aims to reduce fraud in the food stamp program but avoids controversial efforts to impose stricter work requirements and provisions to restrict eligibility.

The measure includes legislation by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that would legalize the production of industrial hemp, which is generally barred because hemp is related to marijuana, even though it contains little of that drug’s key psychoactive ingredient, known as THC. McConnell secured a hemp pilot program in the most recent farm bill in 2014 and views the crop as a good crop replacement for tobacco.

McConnell hopes to bring the measure to the Senate floor before the July 4 recess.