The United States addresses agricultural and food policy through a variety of programs, including commodity support, nutrition assistance, and conservation. The primary legal framework for agricultural policy is set through a legislative process that occurs approximately every 5 years.
A new farm law, the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Act), was signed on February 7, 2014, and will remain in force through 2018—and in the case of some provisions, beyond 2018. The 2014 Farm Act makes major changes in commodity programs, adds new crop insurance options, streamlines conservation programs, modifies some provisions of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and expands programs for specialty crops, organic farmers, bioenergy, rural development, and beginning farmers and ranchers.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that 80 percent of outlays under the 2014 Farm Act will fund nutrition programs, 8 percent will fund crop insurance programs, 6 percent will fund conservation programs, 5 percent will fund commodity programs, and the remaining 1 percent will fund all other programs, including trade, credit, rural development, research and extension, forestry, energy, horticulture, and miscellaneous programs.
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