The $956 billion farm bill, in one graph

chart_1This week, Congress will vote on a massive farm bill that will set the course of U.S. food policy for the next half-decade. The old farm bill expired in 2012, and its replacement (pdf) is 959 pages long, costing some $956.4 billion over 10 years. So what’s actually in it? I’ve made a pie chart below to outline the basics. This is based on the latest Congressional Budget Office’s scoring as well as reporting on how its predecessor House and Senate bills got combined. I’ll update as needed: First, some clarification: Under existing law, the United States was already on pace to spend $972.9 billion on these programs over the next decade. So the bill before Congress would technically cut spending, relative to that baseline, by about $16.5 billion.  How does it do that? Well, food stamps are cut by $8 billion (relative to current law). Farm subsidy and commodity programs are cut by $14 billion. Conservation programs get cut by $4 billion. And crop insurance is increased by about $6 billion. But there’s still a fair bit of spending left — $956.4 billion in all, or about 2 percent of all federal spending over the decade. So here’s a breakdown of what we know about the farm legislation’s various provisions: More


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