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Thursday, January 20, 2011

What Is the “Farm Bill”?

Renée Johnson
Specialist in Agricultural Policy

Jim Monke
Specialist in Agricultural Policy

The 112th Congress likely will consider reauthorization of the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008) because much of the current law expires in 2012. Both chambers held hearings in 2010 to hear how the 2008 law is working and what changes farmers and other interest groups want in the next bill. The Administration and other deficit reduction task forces have submitted budget proposals to reduce farm supports, and these approaches are at odds with those of many farm sector advocates, who support the status quo.

The 2008 farm bill contained 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 included 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 guides most federal farm and food policies through FY2012. The farm bill undergoes review and reauthorization roughly every five years.

Date of Report: January 3, 2011
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: RS22131
Price: $29.95

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