Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Cornhusker Economics (October 2011)


Published by University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics. Copyright © [2011] Board of Regents, University of Nebraska.


It has long been said that farm policy and farm bills are much more evolutionary than revolutionary. Policy changes tend to occur rather slowly and gradually, unless some economic or policy shock creates an opportunity or urgent need for a change in policy direction.

The current debate in Washington could provide just that shock to point federal farm policy in a new direction. Farm legislation authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill expires in 2012, and the initial debate over re-authorization was already well underway when the Federal Debt Ceiling/Deficit Reduction Compromise legislation was passed in August. That legislation created a “Super Committee,” charged with preparing a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit to be voted on by Congress before Christmas, highlighting the potential for significant cuts in farm programs along with other federal spending.