Congressman Thompson has been a longtime supporter of Agriculture. In fact, Congressman Thompson has never voted against a Farm Bill during his nine terms in Congress. The Farm Bill is the primary policy tool for agriculture and food policy in the United States. Our most recent Farm Bill was passed enacted in May of 2008. It contains 15 titles covering support for commodity crops, horticulture and livestock production, conservation, nutrition, trade and food aid, agricultural research, farm credit, rural development, energy, forestry, and other related programs. It also includes provisions that make certain changes to tax laws, in order to offset some new spending initiatives in the final bill. The enacted bill succeeds the most recent 2002 farm bill and is to guide most federal farm and food policies through 2012.
The enacted 2008 farm bill continues or modifies most existing farm and commodity programs, and also creates new programs and provisions. For farm commodities, the bill generally continues the framework of the 2002 farm bill, revises payment limitations adjusts support prices for some commodities, and creates a new revenue support program, in addition to the traditional direct, counter-cyclical, and marketing loan programs for major supported crops. The bill also adds new stand-alone titles containing provisions to address horticulture and livestock issues, including new mandatory funding for specialty crop block grants and to support organic production; and provisions to address meat and poultry inspection, country-of-origin labeling, and livestock competition. Other provisions include changes to the current crop insurance program, a new provision for ongoing disaster assistance, and expanded borrowing opportunities for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.
The bill’s nutrition title increases food stamp benefits and sets new standards that will make more households eligible, and also raises funding for fresh fruits and vegetables in most domestic food programs. For research, the bill requires the reorganization of USDA’s research, extension, and economic agencies. For most other titles—conservation, international trade and food aid, rural development, forestry, and energy—the enacted law reauthorizes, expands, or modifies many of the existing programs, creates new programs and initiatives, and allows some programs to expire.