The farm bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation the American president signs. Negotiated every five to seven years, it has tremendous implications for food production, nutrition assistance, habitat conservation, international trade, and much more. Yet at nearly 1,000 pages, it is difficult to understand for policymakers, let alone citizens. In this primer, Dan Imhoff and Christina Badaracco translate all the “legalese" and political jargon into an accessible, graphics-rich 200 pages.
Readers will learn the basic elements of the bill, its origins and history, and perhaps most importantly, the battles that will determine the direction of food policy in the coming years. The authors trace how the legislation has evolved, from its first incarnation during the Great Depression, to today, when America has become the world’s leading agricultural powerhouse. They explain the three main components of the bill—farm subsidies, food stamps or SNAP, and conservation programs—as well as how crucial public policies are changing.
With a new farm bill just signed into law, we all need to understand the implications of food policy. What’s the impact of crop insurance? How does SNAP actually work? What would it take to create a healthier, more sustainable food system? These are questions that affect not only farmers, but everyone who eats. If you care about the answers, The Farm Bill is your guide.