Farm Bill Titles

The Farm Bill is organized into different areas called “titles.” New titles are added as new issues become crucial to the farm economy and movements addressing hunger, environmental preservation and energy. For example, in 2002 a new Energy Title was added to the bill. The current Farm Bill, passed in 2008 is called The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act. It has 15 different titles, including commodity price and income supports, farm credit, trade, food stamps, agricultural conservation, rural development, bio-energy, international food aid and research.

The 2008 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act

• Title I: Commodities
Income support to growers of selected commodities, including wheat, corn, barley, grain sorghum, oats, upland cotton, rice, soybeans and other oil-seeds, peanuts, dairy and sugar. Support is largely through direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, and marketing loans. Other support mechanisms include government purchases for dairy, and marketing quotas and import barriers for sugar. (Estimated 5-year cost: $32 billion)

• Title II: Conservation
Environmental stewardship of farmlands and improved management practices through land retirement and working lands programs. Special consideration given to beginning, limited-resourced, and socially disadvantaged producers, specialty crop producers, and producers transitioning to organic methods. (Estimated 5-year cost: $22 billion)

• Title III: Agricultural Trade and Food Aid
Trade and exports, including international food aid programs; export market development, and export credit guarantee programs related to various World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. (Estimated 5-year cost: $1.5 billion)

• Title IV: Nutrition
Domestic food and nutrition, providing primarily for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) and other supplemental nutrition assistance. (Estimated 5-year cost: $314 billion)

• Title V: Farm Credit
Federal direct and guaranteed farm loan programs, and loan eligibility rules and policies. (Estimated 5-year cost: $1.4 billion)

• Title VI: Rural Development
Business and community programs for planning, feasibility assessments, and coordination activities with other local, state, and federal programs, including rural broadband access. (Estimated 5-year cost: $.2 billion)

• Title VII: Research
Agricultural research and extension programs, including bio-security and response, biotechnology, and organic production. (Estimated 5-year cost: $.03 billion)

• Title VIII: Forestry
USDA Forest Service programs, including forestry management, enhancement, and agro-forestry programs. (Estimated 5-year cost: $40 million)

• Title IX: Energy
Bioenergy programs and grants for procurement of bio-based products to support development of bio-refineries and assist eligible farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in purchasing renewable energy systems, as well as user education programs. (Estimated 5-year cost: $2 billion)

• Title X: Horticulture and Organic Agriculture
Covers fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops and organic agriculture. Provides grants to state departments of agriculture for U.S specialty crop research, marketing, and promotion, expansion of farmers’ markets, transitioning farmers to organic production, and cooperative federal-state pest and disease detection programs. (Estimated 5-year cost: $.4 billion)

• Title XI: Livestock
Covers livestock and poultry production, including provisions that amend existing laws governing livestock and poultry marketing and competition. Requires retailers to label the country of origin of  meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. Governs meat and poultry state inspections, among other provisions. (Estimated 5-year cost: $1 million)

• Title XII: Crop Insurance and Disaster Assistance
Covers the federal crop insurance and disaster assistance (not including the supplemental disaster assistance provisions in the Trade and Tax title). (Estimated 5-year cost: $28 billion)

• Title XIII: Commodity Futures
Covers re-authorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). (No cost)

• Title XIV: Miscellaneous
Other types of programs and assistance not covered in other bill titles, including provisions to assist limited-resource and socially disadvantaged farmers and agricultural security, among others. (Estimated 5-year cost: $6.4 billion)

• Title XV: Trade and Tax Provisions
Covers tax-related provisions intended to offset spending initiatives for some programs, including those in the nutrition, conservation, and energy titles. Also contains the new supplemental disaster assistance and disaster relief trust fund, and other tax-related provisions such as customs user fees. (Estimated 5-year cost: $3.8 billion)

Farm Bill Structure


Conservation, Forestry and Energy

Nutrition and Health

Horticulture and Organic Agriculture

Crop Insurance and Disaster Relief Programs


What Is the “Farm Bill”? (Congressional Research Service, 2010)

Farm Bill 1.01: An Introduction and Brief History of the Farm Bill (Ed Yowell and Fern Gale Estrow, NYC Food Systems Network, 2011)

Actual Farm Bill Spending and Cost Estimates (Jim Monk and Renee Johnson, Congressional Research Service, 2010)

Northwest Farm Bill Action Group • • 2011
Design based on Missed Spring theme • Rainier image courtesy of USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory