Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version

September 2006


National Public Policy Education Committee Publication Number 2006-01. September 2006. Copyright 2006, Farm Foundation, Oak Brook, IL. Used by permission.


The development of the next farm bill is a complex, comprehensive process that involves numerous issues. The process will, in part, be driven by the economic climate, the budget situation, the trade arena, and the political setting at the time of the debate. The economic setting and the political setting invite a significant debate on the shape of the farm bill and the potential for new directions or alternatives. The budget setting and the trade setting both present challenges for this farm bill debate in terms of program priorities and potential program trade-offs.

In this complex environment, understanding producer attitudes and policy preferences can be valuable to the discussion. The National Agricultural, Food, and Public Policy Preference Survey elicited agricultural producers’ preferences on current policy issues and future policy directions related to the next farm bill.

Twenty-seven states participated in the survey, representing 60 percent of all U.S. farms and ranches. More than 63,000 producers were surveyed in the 27 states, resulting in more than 15,000 usable responses. The sample responses were representative of the population of producers in the surveyed states and in the nation as a whole.

The survey focused on a number of policy issues and included key questions to identify underlying policy goals and budget priorities. It included questions on specific commodity program issues, conservation programs, trade policy, food system and regulatory policy, and other related policy issues.