The Farm Bill is a body of legislation that sets forth federal agricultural policy and it is renewed by Congress every four to six years. The 2008 Farm Bill included 15 titles, or parts. Most titles included laws governing one or more federal agricultural or nutrition assistance programs. After a Farm Bill is passed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) develops detailed regulations in order to implement the programs.
In addition to providing legal authority for farm and nutrition programs, the Farm Bill also provides funding authority. Some funding levels are designated in the Farm Bill itself, while others are subject to the annual appropriations process.
Public health professionals are taking an interest in the Farm Bill as a vehicle for improving health. This overivew provides a broad overview of the types of programs authorized under the Farm Bill and how these programs impact health at the population level. The issue brief focuses on four areas in which the Farm Bill affects health: nutrition, environmental, emergency preparedness, and community health.