Farm Bill Definitions
The definitions are excerpted from the Glossary of Agricultural Production, Programs, and Policy by Chuck Culver, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, and Farm Commodity Legislation: Chronology 1933-2002 by Geoffrey Becker, Congressional Research Service.
Signed into law May 13, 2002. Commonly known as the 2002 Farm Bill. The bill, with most of its provisions taking effect in 2002, reauthorized programs for six years and includes loan rates, target prices, and direct payments for covered commodities. The bill provided for the updating of base acres and payment yields; created a National Dairy Program; provided marketing loans and loan deficiency payments to wool, mohair, honey, and pulse crops; reformed the peanut program; provided assistance to apple producers; and lowered the payment limit on direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, loan deficiency payments, and marketing loan gains. The bill also significantly increased authorized spending for conservation programs, created the new Conservation Security Program and the Grasslands Reserve Program, and added a new Energy Title for the support of bioenergy production.
Signed into law April 4, 1996. Commonly known as the 1996 Farm Bill, this Act amended permanent legislation through 2002. The Act provided direct payments to producers of cotton, rice, feed grains, and wheat that were independent of market prices, and expanded planting flexibility opportunities. It suspended the Farmer-Owned Reserve; reduced the payment limitation from $50,000 to $40,000 per person; consolidated conservation cost-share programs; and eliminated the acreage reduction program, diversion payments, 50/85, 50/92, rye and honey price-support loans, purchase agreements, rice marketing certificates, high-moisture barley loans, and loan extensions.
Signed into law November 1, 1993. [This law] phased out wool and mohair price supports at the end of 1995.
Signed into law August 10, 1993. The law reduced payment acres for the 0/92 and 50/92 programs, required tobacco importers to pay no-net-cost tobacco fund assessments, eliminated loan origination fees for soybeans, extended and increased marketing assessments on peanuts, allowed refinancing and prepayment of Federal Financing Bank loans guaranteed by the Rural Electrification Administration, reduced the acreage requirement for the Conservation Reserve Program, and required the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to improve the actuarial soundness of federal crop insurance.
Signed into law November 28, 1990. The omnibus food and agriculture legislation that provided a five year framework for the USDA to administer various agriculture, food, conservation, and trade programs. The law, with its 25 titles, amended permanent legislation and superseded the Food Security Act of 1985. This Act continued efforts to move agriculture in a market oriented direction. It froze target prices and allowed more planting flexibility. New titles included rural development, forestry, organic certification, and commodity promotion programs.
Signed into law November 5, 1990. The law amended the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 to reduce agricultural spending for 1991-95. It included a mandatory 15 percent planting flexibility, and assessments on nonprogram crop producers. See Normal flex acres (acreage); normal flexible acres (acreage) (NFA), and Triple-base plan.
Signed into law December 19, 1989. Title I of the Act, the Agricultural Reconciliation Act of 1989, amended provisions of the Disaster Assistance Acts of 1988 and 1989, reduced available Targeted Export Assistance program funds by over one-third, and allowed program crop producers to plant up to 25 percent of their permitted acreage to soybeans, sunflowers, and safflowers for the 1990 crop. The Act also made across-the-board reductions in deficiency payments for the 1990 crops of wheat, corn, cotton, and rice, and made discretionary the previously mandatory cut in the price-support for milk.
Signed into law December 22, 1987. The law set the 1988 fiscal year budget for agriculture and all federal agencies. It set target prices for the 1988 and 1989 program crops, established loan rates for the price-support programs, and required a voluntary paid land diversion for feed grains. The law also further defined who is eligible to receive program payments (defining a “person”).
Signed into law March 20, 1986. Signed into law March 20, 1986. The law made further modifications to the Food Security Act of 1985, including limiting the nonprogram crops that can be planted under the 50/92 provision; permitting haying and grazing on diverted wheat and feed grain acres during a set five-month period, if requested by a Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service State Committee; and increasing assessments taken from the price of milk received by producers to fund the whole herd buyout program.
Signed into law on December 23, 1985. The omnibus food and agriculture legislation that provided a five year framework for the USDA to administer various agriculture and food programs. The Act amended permanent legislation the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 and the Agricultural Act of 1949 for the 1986 through 1990 crop years. The law allowed lower price and income supports, lowered dairy supports, established a dairy termination program, established swampbuster and sodbuster provisions, and created a conservation reserve program targeted at erosive croplands.
Signed into law February 28, 1986. The law gave the USDA discretion, rather than a mandate, to require cross-compliance for the 1986 through 1990 wheat and feed grains crops, changed acreage base calculations, and specified election procedures for local Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service committees.
Signed into law April 10, 1984. [This law] froze target price increases provided in the 1981 Act, authorized paid land diversions for feed grains, upland cotton, and rice, and provided a wheat payment-in-kind program for 1984.
Signed into law November 29, 1983. The law froze tobacco price-supports, launched a voluntary dairy diversion program, and established a dairy promotion program. The law abolished leasing of quota for flue-cured tobacco beginning in 1987. See Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983.
Signed into law August 26, 1983. The law eliminated marketing quotas and allotments for extra-long staple cotton, and tied its support to upland cotton through a formula that sets the loan rate at not less than 150 percent of the upland cotton loan level.
Signed into law September 8, 1982. The law froze dairy price-supports and mandated the loan rates and acreage reserve programs for the 1983 crops.
Signed into law December 22, 1981. The law emphasized making U.S. commodities competitive abroad. It set specific target prices for four years, eliminated rice allotments and marketing quotas, and lowered dairy price supports.
Signed into law September 29, 1977. The law increased price and income supports; imposed payment limitations on wheat, feed grains, upland cotton, and rice; and established a farmer owned reserve for grain. It also established a new two tiered pricing program for peanuts. Under the program, producers were given an acreage allotment on which a farm poundage quota was set. Producers could produce in excess of their quota, within their acreage allotment, but would receive the higher of the two price support levels only for the quota amount. Peanuts in excess of the quota were referred to as additionals. The Act also included the Food Stamp Act of 1977 (Title XIII), and the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (Title XIV).
Signed into law August 10, 1973. The law established target prices and deficiency payments to replace former price support payments. It also set payment limitations at $20,000 for all program crops, and authorized disaster payments and a disaster reserve of inventories to alleviate distress caused by natural disasters.
Signed into law November 30, 1970. The law, in effect through 1973, established the cropland set aside program and a payment limitation per producer (set at $55,000 per crop). It also amended and extended the authority of the Class I Base Plan in milk marketing order areas.
Signed into law November 3, 1965. The first multiyear farm legislation, providing for four year commodity programs for wheat, feed grains, and upland cotton. It was extended for one more year through 1970 (P.L. 90 559). It authorized a Class I milk base plan for the 75 federal milk marketing orders, and a long term diversion of cropland under a Cropland Adjustment Program. The law also continued payment and diversion programs for feed grains and cotton, and marketing certificate and diversion programs for wheat.
Signed into law April 11, 1964. [This law] authorized an emergency wheat program with voluntary diversion of wheat acreage and continued feed grain support. It also included a marketing certificate program for wheat, but it was rejected by wheat producers, who were required to approve its marketing quota.
Signed into law September 27, 1962. This law authorized an emergency wheat program with voluntary diversion of wheat acreage, and continued the feed grain support program. It also included a marketing certificate program for wheat. The program, however, was rejected by wheat producers, who were required to approve its marketing quota. The Act also authorized the Resource Conservation and Development program.
Signed into law May 28, 1956. This law contained the Soil Bank Act that authorized the acreage reserve program for wheat, corn, rice, cotton, peanuts, and several types of tobacco. It also provided for a ten year Conservation Reserve Program. See Soil Bank Program.
Signed into law August 28, 1954. It established a flexible price support for basic commodities (excluding tobacco) at 82 1/2 to 90 percent of parity authorized a Commodity Credit Corporation reserve for foreign and domestic relief.
Signed into law October 31, 1949. This law, along with the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, makes up the major part of permanent legislation that is still effective in amended form. The 1949 Act designated mandatory support for the following nonbasic commodities: wool and mohair, tung nuts, honey, Irish potatoes (excluded in the Agricultural Act of 1954), and milk, butterfat, and their products. See Section 416(b).
Signed into law July 3, 1948. The law made price supports mandatory at 90 percent of parity for 1949 basic commodities. It also provided that beginning in 1950, parity would be reformulated to take into consideration average prices of the previous ten years, as well as those of the 1910 14 base period.
Signed into law June 29, 1948. Signed into law June 29, 1948. It reestablished the CCC (first created in 1933) and specified its authorities to carry out price-support and income support activities.
Signed into law July 1, 1941. [This law] required support for many nonbasic commodities at 85% of parity or higher. In 1942, the minimum rate was increased to 90% of parity and was required to be continued for 2 years after the end of World War II (see parity definition under 1936 act, page 2). The “Steagall commodities” include hogs, eggs, chickens (with certain exceptions), turkeys, milk, butterfat, certain dry peas, certain dry edible beans, soybeans, flaxseed and peanuts for oil, American-Egyptian cotton, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Signed into law February 16, 1938. The law was the first to make price supports mandatory for corn, cotton, and wheat to help maintain a sufficient supply in low production periods along with marketing quotas to keep supply in line with market demand. It also established permissive supports for butter, dates, figs, hops, turpentine, rosin, pecans, prunes, raisins, barley, rye, grain sorghum, wool, winter cover crop seeds, mohair, peanuts, and tobacco for the 1938 40 period. The 1938 Act is considered part of permanent legislation. Provisions of this law are often superseded by more current legislation. However, if the current legislation expires and new legislation is not enacted, the law reverts back to the 1938 Act (along with the Agricultural Act of 1949).
Signed into law February 29, 1936. The law provided for soil conservation and soil-building payments to participating producers, but did not include strong income and price-support programs.
Signed into law April 27, 1935. [This law] allowed the government to pay farmers to reduce production so as to “conserve soil,” prevent erosion … in an attempt to cut crop and livestock surplus. () This act also established the Soil Conservation Service.
Signed into law May 12, 1933. The law introduced the price support programs, including production adjustments, and incorporated the Commodity Credit Corporation under the laws of the State of Delaware on October 17, 1933. The price support payments were financed mostly by processing taxes on the specific commodity. The Act also made price support loans by the CCC mandatory for the designated basic (storable) commodities (corn, wheat, and cotton). Support for other commodities was authorized upon recommendation by the USDA with the President’s approval. Commodity loan programs carried out by the CCC for 1933 37 included programs for cotton, corn, turpentine, rosin, tobacco, peanuts, dates, figs, and prunes. The provisions for production control and processing taxes in the Act were later declared unconstitutional.