From Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
I’m the son of a millwright from a small timber town, and I’ve seen firsthand that reliable, living-wage jobs have the power to change lives and transform communities. Every Oregonian — regardless of the color of their skin or their zip code — deserves access to those kinds of jobs, and I fight every day to find ways to create opportunities in every part of our state.
That’s why I’ve been using my position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to advocate for the resources our state needs to remain at the cutting edge of agricultural research and development of hemp and CBD from hemp. These products were just a blip until recently, but in the last farm bill, I worked with Senators from both parties to legalize hemp, a versatile cash crop that has now become a billion dollar industry in Oregon.
Last week, I fought to include $16.5 million for the implementation of provisions relating to commercial hemp — which can be used to produce everything from rope and cloth to soap and oil — in a bipartisan appropriations bill that was unanimously voted out of committee. The bill also includes $2.5 million in funding for hemp innovation research, and $2 million for the development of clear Food and Drug Administration guidelines for CBD, a chemical contained in hemp with booming popularity as a health aid — a critical step forward in making sure businesses and workers can plan with certainty about how their products will be regulated when they hit the market.
Agricultural innovation has long been woven into the spirit of our state, and continues to play an integral role in the growth and vitality of Oregon’s economy. I’m going to keep working to make sure Oregon’s agricultural producers receive the support they need to thrive and create the good-paying jobs our communities can rely on.
All my best,