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Farm Commodity Programs: A Short Primer

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Publication Date: February 2005

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS20848

Topic: Agriculture, forestry and fishing (Crop management)


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is required by law to subsidize approximately two dozen specified agricultural commodities. Several permanent statutes provide the basic authority for these subsidies; more recent multi-year farm bills shape their operation and funding levels. The most recent omnibus farm bill is the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (P.L.107-171). However, Congress since FY1989 has also passed 30 appropriations, authorization, or farm disaster acts adding approximately $53 billion in supplemental funding for USDA farm and related programs (through October 2004). This report will not be updated.