2012 Farm Bill

This Farm Bill, ultimately passed in 2014 after numerous extensions and a painful two year negotiating process, made major reforms to U.S. commodity programs – instituting a much bigger role for crop insurance and new revenue insurance programs. While the types of programs changed, the results were much the same – programs designed to support farmers when the market dropped, rather than attempting to address market volatility in agriculture. The bill also included cuts to conservation programs for the first time since 1985. 

2012 Farm Bill Blog

A hell of a way to write a Farm Bill

If you want to see what political dysfunction looks like, take a look at how Congress is bungling the nation’s most important food and farm policy—the Farm Bill. The sprawling Farm Bill sets policy for the next five years and is directly relevant to our 2 million farmers, the 43 million people on food assistance and the more than 900 million acres in farmland.

Climate insurance, not just crop insurance

Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee will hear arguments to expand the federal crop insurance program in the 2012 Farm Bill. Most likely, proponents of this expansion will point to the devastating crop losses wrought by extreme weather last year. Indemnity payouts for 2011 have so far cost taxpayers a record $10 billion, a number expected to grow as claims are processed.

Public agricultural research needs to benefit the public

The importance of the Farm Bill’s Research Title is hard to overstate. It may not have a direct impact on people’s lives as the food assistance programs and farm programs do, but it is a crucial driver in the long-term direction of U.S. agriculture. Its impact goes far beyond the USDA research institutions and also drives research at land grant universities and many other entities.

What an expiring Farm Bill means to you

It has always been an amusing pastime for agricultural policy wonks to envision what would happen if a Farm Bill was allowed to expire. Nobody actually thought that it could come to fruition; after all, the uncertainty that it would impose on farmers and agricultural markets would be too great for Congress not to act on passing a new Farm Bill.