Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version

October 2008


Published by University of Nebraska - Lincoln and Kansas State University.


A Series of Farm Bill Educational Meetings for Producers and Interested Policy Stakeholders in Kansas and Nebraska.

The debate on the 2007 Farm Bill has begun in earnest in Washington. The new Congress has already convened several hearings on farm policy issues, including energy and conservation. The Administration has just released its policy recommendations for the new farm bill, opening up further discussion that will grow over the coming months. The current farm bill, passed in 2002, runs through September 2007 and includes programs covering the 2007-2008 crop year. Before it expires, Congress will need to reconcile the current discussion and debate and either pass a new farm bill or an extension of the current one.

While the discussion and development of the new farm bill will be played out over the coming months, it is important to remember several fundamental factors that drive the debate. Drawing from an old adage, “farm bills are always a product of their times.” While the exact setting changes from farm bill to farm bill, the same key factors continue to drive the debate. The economic setting, the budget setting, the trade arena, and the political climate all influence the development of each farm bill. Understanding each of these drivers is a fundamental part of understanding the potential new farm bill.