Documents & Links
The Politico Morning Ag free news subscription is the one of the very best sources for breaking news stories on food and ag issues. For example, related to Economic Support for farmers, from the Morning Ag Nov. 11, 2019 issue:
USDA SENDS HURRICANE AID TO SOUTHERN FARMERS: The department announced it's providing up to $800 million in block grants to states hit by Hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018, which dealt major damage to agriculture in the South. A USDA spokesperson said $381 million will go to Florida, $337 million to Georgia and $25 million to Alabama, reports Pro Ag's Catherine Boudreau.
The block grants are part of a $3 billion fund to help farmers and ranchers recover from the storms and other natural disasters over the last two years, which is part of a broader disaster aid package that Congress passed in June. The money is also intended to help producers affected by wildfires, flooding, tornadoes, blizzards and other severe weather.
This round of grant funding will cover the loss of timber, cattle and poultry, as well as costs related to horticulture crop damage and pecan value losses, USDA said in a statement. In Florida, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said producers can use the aid to replace irrigation systems, clear debris and plant new trees.
"This funding is a huge victory for Florida's timber producers," Fried said on Friday. Hurricane Michael damaged an estimated 550 million trees in the state, representing a loss of $1.3 billion.
The disaster aid comes on top of standard farm safety net programs like federal crop insurance, which triggered nearly $490 million in indemnities last year for Southeastern producers affected by the hurricanes. Midwestern farmers have received nearly $4 billion this year because of historic flooding, which left some 20 million acres unplantable, setting a modern record, USDA said.
Related: Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard warned that climate change is going to have "profound effects" on the U.S. economy and the stability of the financial system, reports Pro Financial Services' Victoria Guida.
"Monetary policymakers must accurately assess how disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires and flooding affect labor markets, household and business spending, output and prices," Brainard said on Friday in remarks at a research conference at the San Francisco Fed.
2018 Farm Bill Resources & Information
The 2018 Farm Bill passed in December 2018, subsequent to the publication of Food, Farming & Sustainability. Many of the 2014 Farm Bill resources in the text are still appropriate, and many programs carried over into the the 2018 Farm Bill. Indeed, the framework of this omnibus legislation is very similar. However, 2018 Farm Bill did include some changes as well as some important new programs. Below are links to the actual legislation, a summary from the Conference Committee and the comprehensive Conference Committee Report, explaining the bill section-by-section. Below these fundamental documents are links to excellent CRS Reports that provide easy-to-read but comprehensive explanations.
Congressional Research Service Reports on the 2018 Farm Bill:
(now available directly on the CRS website)
Agricultural Conservation: A Guide to Programs, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R40763 (Aug 15, 2019).
Proposed Relocation/Realignment of USDA’s ERS and NIFA, Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11166 (Aug 13, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Support for Indian Tribes, Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11287 (Aug 12, 2019).
Hemp-Derived Cannabidiol (CBD) and Related Hemp Extracts (Renée Johnson), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF10391 (Jun 21, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Support for Local Food Systems (Renée Johnson, Tadlock Cowan, Randy Schnepf, Alison Aussenber), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. IF11252 (June 18, 2019)
U.S. Farm Program Eligibility and Payment Limits Under the 2018 Farm Bill (P.L. 115-334) (Randy Schnepf, Megan Stubbs), Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R45659 (June 14, 2019)
Emergency Assistance for Agricultural Land Rehabilitation (Megan Stubbs), Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R42854 (June 11, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (Renée Johnson, Tadlock Cowan), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11227 (May 28, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Rural Development Programs (Tadlock Cowan) Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11225 (May 23, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Agricultural Trade and Food Assistance (Anita Regmi, Alyssa R. Casey), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11223 (May 22, 2019).
Farm Commodity Provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill (P.L. 115-334) (Randy Schnepf), Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R45730 (May 21, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Support for Urban Agriculture (Renée Johnson, Tadlock Cowan),
Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11210 (May 16, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Title II Conservation Programs (Megan Stubbs), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11199 (May 03, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Dairy Programs (Joel L. Greene), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11188 (Apr. 24, 2019).
Agricultural Conservation in the 2018 Farm Bill (Megan Stubbs), Cong. Serv. Rep. R45698
(Apr. 18, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: ARC and PLC Support Programs (Randy Schnepf), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11161 (Apr. 03, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Program Eligibility and Payment Limits (Randy Schnepf, Megan Stubbs)
Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11165 (Apr 03, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: The Farm Safety Net (Randy Schnepf), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11163 (Apr. 03, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Title I Commodity Programs (Randy Schnepf), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11164 (Apr. 03, 2019).
Broadband Loan and Grant Programs in the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (Lennard G. Kruger, Alyssa R. Casey), Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. RL33816 (Mar. 22, 2019).
Defining Hemp: A Fact Sheet (Renée Johnson), Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R44742 (Mar. 22, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: What Is the Farm Bill? (Renée Johnson, Jim Monke), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11126 (Mar. 08, 2019).
Budget Issues That Shaped the 2018 Farm Bill (Jim Monke), Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R45425
(Feb. 28, 2019).
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Energy Title (Kelsi Bracmort), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF10639 (Feb. 27, 2019).
The 2018 Farm Bill (P.L. 115-334): Summary and Side-by-Side Comparison (Mark A. McMinimy, Sahar Angadjivand, et al), Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R45525 (Feb. 22, 2019)
2018 Farm Bill Primer: Hemp Cultivation and Processing (Renée Johnson), Cong. Res. Serv. In Focus Rep. No. IF11088 (Jan 30, 2019).
Trade Assistance / Tariffs Imposed by President Trump
The Commodity Credit Corporation: In Brief, Cong. Res. Serve. Rep. R44606 (Sept. 4, 2019) (discussing CCC authorities and concerns about recent trade assistance).
Farm Policy: USDA's 2019 Trade Aid Package, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R45865 (Aug. 2019, updated Sept. 4, 2019) (this excellent report by Randy Schnepf provides the best explanation available on the latest round of trade assistance promised by the Trump administration).
Farm Policy: Comparison of 2018 and 2019 MFP Programs, In Focus Report, Cong. Res. Serv. (Aug. 12, 2019).
Farm Policy: USDA’s 2018 Trade Aid Package, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R45310 (Sept. 26, 2018; updated June 19, 2019).
In the news:
The Washington Post reported on concerns about the use of CCC authorities and funds for trade assistance: Trump Administration Faces Internal Concerns Over Unprecedented Farm Bailout (Sept. 9, 2019). See also, Top Democrat Attempts to Block Trump From Paying Farm Bailout Money, Setting Up Battle Over Trade War Tactics (Sept. 12, 2019)
NBC News report on problems with payment mechanism: U.S. Has Paid More Than $1M in Interest for Late Bailout Payments to Farmers (Aug. 28, 2019).
1-A Radio Broadcast and podcast NPR, American Farmers Are Paying A Price For Trump’s Tariffs (Aug. 28, 2019).
POLITICO's Morning Ag reported the following concern in its August 23, 2019 Daily News:
NFU WORRIES TRADE AID COULD ERODE SUPPORT FOR NEXT FARM BILL: Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, told reporters on Thursday he's concerned that the billions in trade aid the Trump administration has been pouring out to farmers could end up undermining political support for the next farm bill.
More money than the farm bill: Johnson noted that the $16 billion aid pledged for this year exceeds total spending on Title I farm programs in a year, a part of the sweeping legislation that already has somewhat tenuous support as political power shifts away from rural voters. Congress also relaxed payment limits for the trade aid program, making it easier for millionaires to qualify.
"That's a dangerous thing," Johnson said of the rolled back payment limits. He added: "I think there's a lot of urban congressman that are going to look at this and say, 'You know what there was a lot of damage done in my state in this industry or that industry as a result of this trade disruption — none of my guys got a nickel.'"
The last time an administration used the Commodity Credit Corporation, the program USDA is using to pay the aid to farmers, for what "one might argue [was] for political purposes, their hands were immediately slapped," he said. "Congress put riders on appropriations bills and said you will not do this again."
On November 12, 2019, the Senate Democrats released a highly critical report that claims that the trade assistance program has overcompensated southern farmers, wealthier farmers, and foreign-owned corporations. The report calls for changes to the calculations.
Linked below are government and NGO reports that provide helpful information about the topics covered in this chapter.
Relevant USDA Reports (by year)
(2019 reports to be posted soon)
Rural America At a Glance, 2018 Edition, USDA, ERS (Nov. 2018).
Current Indicators of Farm Sector Financial Health, USDA, Amber Waves (July 2, 2018).
Federal Risk Management Tools for Agricultural Producers: An Overview, USDA, ERS, Econ. Res. Rep. 250 (June 2018).
Lower Conventional Corn Prices and Strong Demand for Organic Livestock Feed Spurred Increased U.S. Organic Corn Production in 2016, USDA, Amber Waves (June 4, 2018).
The 2012-13 U.S. Drought Heightened Federal Disaster Assistance Payments for Livestock Producers, USDA, Amber Waves (May 7, 2018).
Impacts of the Value-Added Producer Grant Program on Business Outcomes, USDA, Amber Waves (May 7, 2018).
The Effect of Conservation Payments on Farmer Adoption Varies Across Conservation Practices, USDA, Amber Waves (May 7, 2018).
USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant Program and Its Effect on Business Survival and Growth, USDA, ERS, Economic Research Report 248 (May 2018).
More Microloans Issued in Regions With Higher Concentrations of Small Farms and Beginning Farmers, Women, and Minorities, USDA, Amber Waves (Apr. 2, 2018).
Examining Consolidation in U.S. Agriculture, USDA, Amber Waves (Mar. 14, 2018).
Three Decades of Consolidation in U.S. Agriculture, USDA, ERS, Econ. Inform. Bull. 189 (Mar. 2018).
Federal Natural Disaster Assistance Programs for Livestock Producers, 2008–2016, USDA, ERS, Econ. Inform. Bull. 187 (Jan. 2018).
U.S. Cropland Is Consolidating Into Larger Farms, USDA, Amber Waves (Dec. 19, 2017).
The Evolving Distribution of Payments From Commodity, Conservation, and Federal Crop Insurance Programs, USDA, ERS, Econ. Inform. Bull. 184) (Nov. 2017).
Study Finds Crop Insurance Has Small Effect on Environmental Quality, USDA, ERS, Amber Waves (Sept. 2017).
Gathering Experimental Evidence To Improve the Design of Agricultural Programs, USDA, ERS, Amber Waves (Aug. 2017).
Applications for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Program Increased After the Agricultural Act of 2014, USDA, ERS, Amber Waves (July 2017).
2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) Survey, USDA, ERS (Mar. 2, 2017) (Details about agricultural land for 25 States, 6 regions, and the contiguous United States).
USDA Agricultural Projections to 2026, Interagency Agricultural Projections Committee, Office of the Chief Economist, World Agricultural Outlook Board, USDA, Long-term Projections Rep. OCE-2017-1 (Feb. 2017).
Secretary Tom Vilsack, The People’s Department: Growing a Stronger and Healthier Future for America, Cabinet Exit Memo (Jan. 5, 2017).
USDA, Factsheet on Nonrecourse Marketing Assistance Loans (including loan rates).
America's Diverse Family Farms, USDA, ERS USDA, ERS, Econ. Inform. Bull. 164 (Dec. 2016).
The Changing Organization and Well-Being of Midsize U.S. Farms, 1992-2014, USDA, ERS, Econ. Res. Rep. ERR-219 (Oct. 2016).
Selected Charts 2016, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, USDA, ERS, Admin. Pub. AP-073 (Oct. 2016).
How Do Time and Money Affect Agricultural Insurance Uptake? A New Approach to Farm Risk Management Analysis, USDA, ERS, ERR-212, (Aug. 2016).
Relevant CRS Reports:
CRS reports can be challenging to find, as the Congressional Research Service does not post them directly. Some private sites post them for public dissemination, but searching can be difficult. Therefore, relevant reports will continue to be downloaded and available here. For additional reports, visit www.everycrsreport.com.
U.S. Farm Income Outlook for 2018, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R45117 (Sept. 21, 2018).
Farm Bills: Major Legislative Actions, 1965-2018, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R45210 (Sept. 2, 2018).
Federal Crop Insurance: Delivery Subsidies in Brief, Cong. Res. Serv. R45291 (Aug. 20, 2018).
Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2019 Appropriations, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. 45230 (Aug. 3, 2018).
Seed Cotton as a Farm Program Crop: In Brief, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. 45143 (Aug. 1, 2018).
The House and Senate 2018 Farm Bills (H.R. 2): A Side-by-Side Comparison with Current Law, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R45275 (July 27, 2018).
Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. RL32725 (July 9 , 2018).
The House Agriculture Committee’s 2018 Farm Bill (H.R. 2): A Side-by-Side Comparison with Current Law, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R45197 (June 29, 2018).
Federal Crop Insurance: Program Overview for the 115th Congress, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R45193 (May 10, 2018).
Farm Bill Programs Without a Budget Baseline Beyond FY2018, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R44758 (May 2, 2018).
What Is the Farm Bill? Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. RS22131(Apr. 26, 2018).
The Commodity Credit Corporation: In Brief, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R40152 (Apr. 19, 2018).
U.S. Farm Commodity Support: An Overview of Selected Programs, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. 45165 (Apr. 17, 2018)
Agricultural Conservation: A Guide to Programs, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R40763 (Apr. 17, 2018).
Federal Milk Marketing Orders: An Overview, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. 45044 (Dec. 13, 2017).
Potential Effects of a U.S. NAFTA Withdrawal: Agricultural Markets, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. 45018 (Nov. 16, 2017).
Farm Safety-Net Payments Under the 2014 Farm Bill: Comparison by Program Crop, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R44914 (Aug. 11, 2017).
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and U.S. Agriculture, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R44875 (June 22, 2017).
NASS and U.S. Crop Production Forecasts: Methods and Issues, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R44814 (Apr. 13, 2017).
Previewing a 2018 Farm Bill, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R44784 (Mar. 15, 2017).
Science and Technology Issues in the 115th Congress, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R44786 (Mar. 14, 2017).
Defining "Industrial Hemp": A Fact Sheet, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R44742 (Mar. 6, 2017).
U.S. Farm Program Eligibility and Payment Limits, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R44739 (Jan. 17, 2017).
USDA’s Actively Engaged in Farming (AEF) Requirement, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R44656 (Oct. 19, 2016).
Agricultural Research: Background and Issues, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R40819
(Oct. 6, 2016).
Conservation Compliance and U.S. Farm Policy, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. R42459
(Oct. 6, 2016).
U.S. Peanut Program and Issues, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No.
R44156 (Sept. 27, 2016).
Farm Safety Net Programs: Background and Issues, Con. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R43758 (Aug. 21, 2015).
Status of the WTO Brazil-U.S. Cotton Case, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R43336 (Oct. 1, 2014). See, also, Randy Schnepf, 2014 Farm Bill Provisions and WTO Compliance, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R43817 (Apr. 22, 2015).
The 2014 Farm Bill (P.L. 113-79): Summary and Side-by-Side, Cong. Serv. Rep. No. R43076 (Feb. 12, 2014).
Farm Commodity Provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill (P.L. 113-79), Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R43448 (Mar. 28, 2014).
Sugar Provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill (P.L. 113-79), Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R42551 (Mar. 21, 2014).
Specialty Crop Provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill (P.L. 113-79), Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R43632 (July 10, 2014).
Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Specialty Crops: Selected Farm Bill and Federal Programs, Cong. Res. Serv. Rep. No. R42771 (July 11, 2014).
Building Indian Country’s Future through the 2018 Farm Bill, Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative, University of Arkansas
The Farm Bill Enterprise resource website (Developed by a consortium of law schools led by the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic)
Environmental Working Group (EWG), Farm Bill resources on farm program payments, e.g., Nearly 28,000 Farmers Got USDA Payments for 32 Straight Years, Worth $19 Billion Total (June 6, 2018).
As cited in the book, the GAO has published a number of articles critical of the crop insurance programs. See, e.g., GAO Report: Opportunities Exist to Improve Program Delivery and Reduce Costs (July 2017)
When Congress began its consideration of the 2018 Farm Bill, a number of groups presented proposals and reports. Some of the most notable are linked here:
Heritage Foundation Report: Farms and Free Enterprise;
Brandon Willis, Farm Policy Facts, How Heritage Foundation’s U.S. Farm Policy Proposals Would Put America Last (Rebuttal to Heritage Foundation Report);
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, An Agenda for the 2018 Farm Bill;
Additional teaching resources to explain the concepts of basis, decoupled/coupled payments, and some of the most common farm programs:
Allen Olson, Climate Change and The Next Farm Bill, Institute of Agric. L. & Climate Change (Dec. 11, 2015).
Allen Olson, Ag Law & Climate Change Powerpoint Presentation, Institute of Agric. L. & Climate Change (2015).
Collection of Essays and Articles on the New Farm Bill, published by the Journal of Food Law & Policy (Spring 2018)
General Legal Resources
U.S. Code (statutes)
Agricultural Law Resources
Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) (University of MO)
Professor Allen Olson, farm policy expert with extensive experience practicing agricultural law teaches Farm Programs & Crop Insurance in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law.
2010 - present
2010 - present