"The farm bill is an omnibus, multi-year piece of authorizing legislation that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. Titles in the most recent farm bill encompassed farm commodity price and income supports, farm credit, trade, agricultural conservation, research, rural development, bioenergy, foreign food aid, and domestic nutrition assistance. 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 policy makers to comprehensively and periodically address agricultural and food issues. The farm bill is renewed about every five years. […] The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the total cost of mandatory programs at $489 billion over the next five years (FY2014-FY2018). This estimated cost does not include the cost of discretionary programs that are subject to appropriations. Of the total estimated mandatory outlays, $391 billion is for nutrition assistance and $98 billion is mostly geared toward agriculture production. Within the agriculture portion, crop insurance outlays are projected to be $41 billion over the next five years, $28 billion for conservation, and $24 billion for farm commodity programs."
CRS Report for Congress, RS22131