The farm bill is an omnibus bill which provides authorization and funding for food and agricultural programs over multiple years. Although it isn't the only legislation that affects food and agriculture, this bill authorizes key programs addressing agricultural issues over a 5 year horizon. The previous bill was the Agriculture Act of 2014. The current bill is the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.
Current Farm Bill
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 was signed into law December 20, 2018. The bill continued many of the programs established in the Agriculture Act of 2014 or earlier bills, but made multiple changes.
Past Farm Bills
The first farm bill was the Agricultural Act of 1933, and the Agricultural Act of 1949 was the last permanent farm bill. Since then, farm bills have amended the Agricultural Act with programs that have a defined ending date. In recent farm bills, this has been a 5 year timeframe. The most recent farm bill was the Agriculture Act of 2014. The bill ended direct payments, counter-cyclical payments and ACRE payments for all covered commodities, and replaced them with pride and revenue protection programs tied to agricultural productions.
Beginning and Underserved Farmers and Ranchers
Programs to support beginning and underserved farmers and ranchers are also found in the farm bill, and include market improvement loans as well as additional subsidies on crop insurance. For more information on whether you are eligible for these programs, contact your local county extension agent or your local FSA office.