The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, also known as the 2002 Farm Bill, includes ten titles, addressing a great variety of issues related to
agriculture Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people t ...
ecology Ecology () is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere level. Ecology overlaps ...
energy In physics, energy (from Ancient Greek: ἐνέργεια, ''enérgeia'', “activity”) is the quantitative property that is transferred to a body or to a physical system, recognizable in the performance of work and in the form of heat ...
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods and services from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system or network that allows trade as a market. An early form of trade, barter, saw the direct exch ...
, and nutrition. This act has been superseded by the 2007 U.S. Farm Bill. The act directs approximately 16.5 billion dollars of funding toward
agricultural subsidies An agricultural subsidy (also called an agricultural incentive) is a government incentive paid to agribusinesses, agricultural organizations and farms to supplement their income, manage the supply of agricultural commodities, and influence the ...
each year. These subsidies have a dramatic effect on the production of grains, oilseeds, and upland cotton. The specialized nature of the farm bill, as well as the size and timing of the bill, made its passage highly contentious. Debated in the
U.S. House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives, often referred to as the House of Representatives, the U.S. House, or simply the House, is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, with the Senate being the upper chamber. Together the ...
during the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks in 2001, the bill drew criticism from the White House and was nearly amended. The amendment, which failed by a close margin, was proposed by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and would have shifted money away from grain subsidies to conservation measures. Public debate over the farm bill continued, and the Senate proposed sweeping amendments to the bill, leading to a series of meetings from February through April. As a result, the current farm bill was not passed until May 2002, a few weeks after the
1996 farm bill The Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-127), known informally as the Freedom to Farm Act, the FAIR Act, or the 1996 U.S. Farm Bill, was the omnibus 1996 farm bill that, among other provisions, revises and simplifies ...
had already expired.



Provisions included: * Country-of-origin labeling for fresh beef, pork, and lamb

Spending tables

The following is the subsidies by crop in 2004 in the United States. Source
USDA The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, and food. It aims to meet the needs of com ...
2006 Fiscal Year Budget


Passage of the bill

Proponents of subsidy expansion

* Rep. Larry Combest (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, drafts and sponsors initial house farm bill. His proposal would spend the equivalent of the entire federal budget surplus for FY2001, and included $76 billion in new spending on top of the previous bill's spending, for a total of $171 billion. * Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL), owner of of peanut crops, drafted $3.5 billion peanut provision i
Title I
* Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), Majority Leader, reassured South Dakotans that commodity subsidies would not be diminished as a result of heightened national security concerns. Credited with prioritizing the Senate version of the farm bill.

Shifting subsidies to conservation

* Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) brought an amendment to shift $19 billion from commodities
Title I
to conservation
Title II
(amendment fails 10/4/2001, 200–226) ** Kind planned to re-introduce the content of his failed amendment in the next farm bill, with the Healthy Farms and Forests Act of 2006. * Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) co-sponsored the Kind amendment. He looked to Florida fruit and vegetable growers for support, because they received no subsidies in 2001. "The inability to persuade more Florida members to vote yes was a key to its defeat." * Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest (R-MD) also co-sponsored the Kind amendment. * Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA) brought an amendment to put $650 million into renewable energy, which failed (10/3/2001) * Sen.
Tom Harkin Thomas Richard Harkin (born November 19, 1939) is an American lawyer, author, and politician who served as a United States senator from Iowa from 1985 to 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously was the U.S. representative for ...
(D-IA), senior Democrat on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, revised the House bil
for passage in the Senate. After the passage of the House version, he told reporters about his ideas for "green" payments rewarding conservation methods. * Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-MN) spoke for many legislators who complained that this was a "farm bill not an environmental bill" (10/4)

Subsidy caps

The largest difference between the House bill and its Senate counterpart was that the total amount of subsidies received by an individual farmer was capped by the Senate. Voicing concerns that "millionaire farmers" were reaping all the benefits of the farm bill legislation, a coalition of farm-state Senators pushed for these limits. * Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) was vehement about lowering subsidy caps from $500,000 to $225,000 "we don't want 10 percent of the farmers getting 60 percent of the farm bill." * Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) cosponsored the subsidy cap amendment. * Sen.
Ben Nelson Earl Benjamin Nelson (born May 17, 1941) is an American attorney, businessman, and politician who served as the 37th governor of Nebraska from 1991 to 1999 and as a United States Senator from Nebraska from 2001 to 2013. He is a member of the De ...
(D-NE) supported subsidy caps "I believe, along with most Nebraskans, that our farm program should discourage consolidation in agriculture... These enormous payments do exactly the opposite." * Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) opposed capping subsidies. Lincoln was the only Democrat in opposition. Cochran said the caps would be "catastrophic for southern farm interests"

Opposing overproduction

After September 11, the farm bill was considered problematic for three reasons. First, it would neither receive nor deserve the careful attention necessary during the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Second, its expenditures would consume the entire budget surplus, money that could be necessary for the American invasion of Afghanistan. Finally, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman opposed the new farm bill. On September 19, her office issued a report criticizing traditional agricultural policies and calling for a shift from subsidies to conservation. According to her assessments, commodity subsidies would lead to overproduction and expensive land. Her position was supported by various other groups and legislators. * The White House Office of Management and Budget issued a formal manifesto (10/3) opposing the initial farm bill, calling it expensive and unresponsive to changes in agriculture. * Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), a farmer with a modest operation, was outraged that the farm bill remained on Congressional agendas after the terrorist attacks. (Omaha Herald 9/27/01) ** Agreeing with Secretary Veneman and the White House, he argued that the farm bill causes overproduction so bad "we've got it coming out of our ears." ** Proposed 6 percent payment to cover premium on crop insurance instead of guaranteeing income. (1/21) * Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) also opposed the revised bill, concerned that it will continue to subsidize overproduction.

Eggplant Caucus

With mounting opposition from both sides of the aisle, the fate of the farm bill was unclear in early 2002. Anxious farmers were frustrated by the gridlocked Senate, which had promised a quick resolution to the impending expiration of the previous bill. The emergence of the Eggplant Caucus, so named for a major New Jersey crop, was a major factor in the passage of the bill. Sen.
Patrick Leahy Patrick Joseph Leahy (; born March 31, 1940) is an American politician and attorney who is the senior United States senator from Vermont and serves as the president pro tempore of the United States Senate. A member of the Democratic Party, ...
(D-VT) saw the opportunity for what he considered to be a more fair and equitable farm bill, and sought to unite over 20 senators from states with less powerful farming interests in support of subsidies for specialty crops and conservation. Active members of the Eggplant Caucus included Senators Hillary Clinton, Charles E. Schumer, and Harry Reid.


The House of Representatives

September 10, 2001: $171 billion, 10-year farm bill (with $73 billion in new spending) reported out of committee, to be considered by the full House of Representatives. September 11:
September 11, 2001 attacks The September 11 attacks, commonly known as 9/11, were four coordinated suicide terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda against the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. That morning, nineteen terrorists hijacked four commerci ...
September 19: Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman criticizes traditional farm policy, calls for a shift from commodity subsidies to conservation measures September 27: Secretary Veneman criticizes the new bill as expensive in post-9/11 budget, claims it will lead to overproduction and expensive land. October 2: Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) introduces an amendment to shift $19 billion (approx. 15%) of commodity subsidies to conservation measures. October 2: Rep. Larry Combest (R-TX), farm bill sponsor, threatens to pull the bill if it is amended. October 3: Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA), proposes shifting $650 million to ethanol, amendment fails. October 4: Kind amendment falls 26 votes short, fails. October 5: 10 year, $73 billion farm bill increase passes in the House of Representatives. :''Source:'

The Senate

October 24: Senators
Ben Nelson Earl Benjamin Nelson (born May 17, 1941) is an American attorney, businessman, and politician who served as the 37th governor of Nebraska from 1991 to 1999 and as a United States Senator from Nebraska from 2001 to 2013. He is a member of the De ...
(D-NE) and
Tom Harkin Thomas Richard Harkin (born November 19, 1939) is an American lawyer, author, and politician who served as a United States senator from Iowa from 1985 to 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously was the U.S. representative for ...
(D-IA) reject Sec. Veneman's request that the Senate delay consideration of the farm bill to focus on war effort. December 14: Sen.
Patrick Leahy Patrick Joseph Leahy (; born March 31, 1940) is an American politician and attorney who is the senior United States senator from Vermont and serves as the president pro tempore of the United States Senate. A member of the Democratic Party, ...
(D-VT) and his Eggplant Caucus add dramatic increases in conservation spending ($21.3 billion). Co-sponsors Nelson and Harkin cut the House version in half (5 year life, $45 billion in new spending). January 17, 2002: Spurred by a website listing absentee landlords of huge farms, Sen.
Chuck Grassley Charles Ernest Grassley (born September 17, 1933) is an American politician serving as the president pro tempore emeritus of the United States Senate, and the senior United States senator from Iowa, having held the seat since 1981. In 2022, he ...
(R-IA) supports an amendment to cap subsidy payments at $225,000. Amendment passes, shifting $1.3 billion to programs for beginning farmers. February 14: Senate passes a 5-year version of the bill, with a $45 billion spending increase, by a 58:40 vote. :''Source:'
(S. 1731)

Reconciling the bills

March 19: After two weeks of closed door negotiations, House agrees to $17 billion for conservation. April 19: House passes non-binding resolution capping subsidies at $275,000 per farm (a $50,000 increase from the Senate bill). April 26: Final version agreed upon: $360,000 subsidy cap, $17.1 billion for conservation. Expected to cost a total of $190 billion over ten years, an increase of over $90 billion (expires in September, 2007, six years later) May 13: The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 signed into law by President Bush.


Critics of U.S. agricultural policy claim that it may be in violation of
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade. With effective cooperation in the United Nations System, governments use the organization to establish, revise, and ...
agreements, asserting that domestic subsidies may be considered to be a non-tariff trade barrier. Others, including the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, the
Union of Concerned Scientists The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a nonprofit science advocacy organization based in the United States. The UCS membership includes many private citizens in addition to professional scientists. Anne Kapuscinski, Professor of Environmenta ...
, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, and Oxfam America, argue that subsidizing domestic grains leads to overproduction that is harmful both for farmers and for the general public. They claim that subsidies depress market prices while increasing land values. Many farmers do not own their land, and as a result, the subsidies they receive are capitalized into the value of the land they farm, and therefore provide little benefit to the farmers themselves. Author Michael Pollan's book, '' The Omnivore's Dilemma'' suggests that corn subsidies in particular have led to the success of the feedlots or
concentrated animal feeding operation In animal husbandry, a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is an intensive animal feeding operation (AFO) in which over 1,000 animal units are confined for over 45 da ...
(CAFOs) that he and journalist Eric Schlosser have blamed for the emergence of e. coli as a major health concern. Subsidized corn is so inexpensive that beef companies find it profitable to build large facilities to feed corn to their cattle. Cows do not normally live in enclosed areas or consume corn, so these CAFOs generate large amounts of waste and require antibiotics and other drugs to keep the animals healthy. Others have criticised the balance of subsidies on nutritional grounds, saying that oilseed crops (used to make
vegetable oil Vegetable oils, or vegetable fats, are oils extracted from seeds or from other parts of fruits. Like animal fats, vegetable fats are ''mixtures'' of triglycerides. Soybean oil, grape seed oil, and cocoa butter are examples of seed oils, o ...
) and corn should be subsidized less (because it can be made into high fructose corn syrup) and that fruits and vegetables should be subsidized more. The act's expansion of food stamp eligibility to non-citizens has also been criticized.

See also


External links

White House Farm Bill Summary
{{DEFAULTSORT:Farm Security And Rural Investment Act Of 2002 United States federal agriculture legislation Acts of the 107th United States Congress