DOI: 10.1079/cabireviews.2023.0021 ISSN:

A view of American farm policy in transition

Jonathan Coppess
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Veterinary


Reauthorization of the Farm Bill is scheduled for 2023 and the agenda of the 118th Congress (2023–2024) elected in the 2022 midterms. The Farm Bill is the main legislative vehicle for American farm and food policy. The Farm Bill was last reauthorized by the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, but the years since that time have featured four programs that made direct payments to farmers but were not authorized by Congress in the Farm Bill, commonly referred to as ad hoc assistance. In addition, the 117th Congress (2021–2022) enacted the Inflation Reduction Act which invested an additional US$18 billion into farm conservation programs over multiple years. This article reviews the ad hoc assistance and Inflation Reduction Act with comparisons to previous instances of ad hoc assistance, applying some lessons from history and seeking to gauge the extent to which the non-farm bill efforts provide leading indicators or signals about changes to, or a transition in, American farm policy.

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