The farm bill is an omnibus, multi-year piece of authorizing legislation that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. Although agricultural policies sometimes are created and changed by freestanding legislation or as part of other major laws, the farm bill provides a predictable opportunity for policymakers to comprehensively and periodically address agricultural and food issues.
The farm bill is typically renewed about every five years. Seventeen farm bills have been enacted since the 1930s (2014, 2008, 2002, 1996, 1990, 1985, 1981, 1977, 1973, 1970, 1965, 1956, 1954, 1949, 1948, 1938, and 1933). Farm bills traditionally have focused on farm commodity program support for a handful of staple commodities—corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice, dairy, and sugar. Yet farm bills have become increasingly expansive in nature since 1973, with the inclusion of a nutrition title. Other prominent additions have been conservation, horticulture, and bioenergy programs.
Date of Report: March 12, 2014
Number of Pages: 2
Order Number: IF00014
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