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Farm Bill

The United States addresses agricultural and food policy through a variety of programs, including commodity support, nutrition assistance, and conservation. The primary legal framework for agricultural policy is set through a legislative process that occurs approximately every 5 years.(USDA, Economic Research Service)

A farm bill is a collection of new laws and amendments to longstanding laws that sets the overall direction of federal food and farm policy for a specified number of years. Farm bills typically contain not only commodity price and income support provisions, but also provisions on agricultural trade, rural development, domestic food assistance, foreign food aid, conservation, crop insurance, farm credit, forestry, and agricultural research. The many issues covered by farm bills make it possible to form a broad coalition of support among common, and sometimes conflicting interests for policies and programs that individually might not be enacted. (Source: CRS Report for Congress, May 5, 2001)