Trade and the Farm Bill

It is impossible to separate the Farm Bill from the country’s commitment to free trade. The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 and the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 set the stage for the 1996 Farm Bill – which stripped away the last vestiges of U.S. supply management programs in order to expand production and better pursue export markets. Ensuing Farm Bills have followed the lead of trade rules, including reforms to the cotton program, and eliminating mandatory country of origin labeling for meat. Trade continues to be the tail that wags the Farm Billl dog.