"The farm bill is an omnibus, multi-year law 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. Since the 1930s, farm bills traditionally have focused on farm commodity program support for a handful of staple commodities such as corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice, dairy, and sugar. Yet farm bills have grown in breadth in recent decades. Among the most prominent additions have been nutrition assistance, conservation, horticulture, and bioenergy programs."
CRS Report for Congress, RS22131