The farm bill is an enormous piece of food and agriculture related legislation, one that Congress revises and passes every five years. This monolith regulates everything from subsidies for farmers, to conservation, to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The proposed 2018 farm bill’s most recent bipartisan revision has now been passed. It’s been a contentious process, mainly around requirements for SNAP recipients.
It’s easy to see why this is important for those directly involved in agriculture. But what does it mean for your small food business? We found a few key takeaways.
One of the biggest developments in the proposed new farm bill is the legalization of hemp production. The bill would remove hemp from the country’s list of controlled substances, allowing cultivation of hemp and research around it. Why is this important? Well, you may want to ready yourself for the investment and innovation that will follow hemp’s legalization. Likely, you’ve been seeing the rise of CBD (cannabinol), a hemp product, in all sorts of goods. It might be time to consider a CBD or hemp addition to your product line, as these ingredients becomes cheaper and easier to use.
Big Organic is happy.
The Organic Trade Association released a statement lauding the yet-to-be-passed farm bill for its funding for organic products. The USDA will use the funding for oversight and research, paving the way for innovations in organic practices. Some will be allocated for a program that incentivizes farmers to switch to organic production by offsetting the costs of doing so. If your local farmer or producer is looking to switch, then now could be the time.
Funding for farmer’s markets.
The next bill contains permanent funding for farmer’s markets. This program was previously temporary. These markets can be a key component of your sales strategy as a small business, but they often lack for resources. Don’t have a market in your area? You may be able to access funding to help you start one.