President Donald Trump reacts after signing H.R. 2, the “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018,” in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, on the White House complex on Thursday. (Jacquelyn Martin — The Associated Press)
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President Donald Trump knows how to make an entrance.

Minutes before signing a massive agriculture bill, he tweeted a video of himself at the 2006 Emmy awards dressed like a farmer and belting out the tune to “Green Acres” with “Will and Grace” star Megan Mullally.

“Green Acres is the place to be. Farm living is the life for me,” sang Trump, holding a pitchfork and wearing a white T-shirt, denim overalls and a straw hat.

The “Green Acres” tune then played just before Trump entered the auditorium where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and other guests had been waiting for about an hour.

“Somebody had that and I said ‘put it on. Not too much of it, but put it on,’” said Trump, a former reality TV star.

Shortly after Trump tweeted the video, Mullally tweeted, “omg.”

Trump signed the farm bill Thursday after the Agriculture Department announced plans to tighten work requirements for food-stamp recipients under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“Never a dull moment,” North Coast U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) said of Trump’s use of the 1960s television show theme song.

Huffman voted in favor of the bill earlier this month but is not especially happy with it.

Huffman

“It was not a great farm bill,” he said. “On balance, I felt I need to support it. It keeps intact our food safety net. Some of the worst provisions that have been proposed — deep cuts to SNAP, work requirements — have been taken out.”

Negotiations over the bill had stalled in Congress over a provision by the House to cut the food-aid program and the Senate’s unwillingness to go along. Trump had voiced strong support for stricter work requirements for the program formerly referred to as food stamps. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said a pending regulation to tighten work requirements was a tradeoff for Trump’s support.

“While we would have liked more progress on forest management reforms and work requirements for certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients, we look forward to using our authorities to make improvements in those areas,” he said in a statement. “All told, this is a farm bill that should be welcomed by producers, and at USDA we will eagerly implement its provisions.”

The farm bill reauthorizes agriculture and conservation programs at a rough cost of $400 billion over five years or $867 billion over 10 years.The light-hearted bill signing came as Washington was gripped by the threat of a potential government shutdown due to a funding dispute.

The bill also legalized hemp, but the bill could be problematic in California. Huffman said he hopes to see that addressed in the future.

“We now have a conflict that has to be reconciled,” he said. “California’s restrictions on legal hemp farming should be revisited in light of this. It will put California hemp growers at a competitive disadvantage.”

Huffman said the voters in the North Coast district he represents have been in favor of hemp’s legalization.

“They think criminalizing hemp was even more absurd than criminalizing cannabis,” he said.

And he hopes to see state legislators pick up the issue and address it.

“The conflict between state and federal law is imminently fixable at the state level,” he said. “I would hope that someone will take that up in Sacramento. That should be a fairly noncontroversial fix. “

Huffman has high hopes for the future when there will be a Democratic majority sitting in the House.

“I am hoping that we can do a much better job in the next farm bill,” he said.

Ruth Schneider can be reached at 707-441-0520.

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