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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Is the “Farm Bill”?

Renée Johnson
Specialist in Agricultural Policy

The 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008) was enacted into law on June 18, 2008. It contains 15 titles covering support for commodity crops, horticulture and livestock, conservation, nutrition, trade and food aid, agricultural research, farm credit, rural development, energy, forestry, and other related programs. It also includes tax-related provisions to offset some new spending initiatives in the rest of the bill. The bill succeeds the 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171) and is to guide most federal farm and food policies through FY2012. 

The farm bill undergoes review and reauthorization roughly every five years. The 112th Congress likely will consider reauthorization of the 2008 farm bill, because much of the current law expires in 2012. Increasingly tight budgetary resources are prompting the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee to initiate hearings starting as early as spring 2010. The Administration already has submitted budget proposals to reduce farm supports, an approach at odds with that of many farm sector advocates, who support the status quo.

Date of Report: May 6, 2010
Number of Pages: 10
Order Number: RS22131
Price: $29.95

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