"The farm bill is an omnibus, multi-year piece of authorizing legislation that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. Although agricultural policies sometimes are created and changed by freestanding legislation or as part of other major laws, the farm bill provides a predictable opportunity for policymakers to comprehensively and periodically address agricultural and food issues. The farm bill is renewed about every five years. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. [Public Law] 110-246, '2008 farm bill') is the most recent omnibus farm bill, and was enacted into law in June 2008. The farm bill is due for reauthorization, as portions of the 2008 farm bill expired in 2012. The farm bill was extended, however, for an additional year in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-240, the 'fiscal cliff' bill). The 112th Congress began work on a new farm bill in 2012 but did not complete action before the conclusion of the Congress, requiring new bills to be introduced in the 113th Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, RS22131