The farm bill provides an opportunity for Congress to address agricultural and food issues comprehensively about every five years. Over time, farm bills have tended to become more complicated and politically sensitive. As a result, the timeline for reauthorization has become less certain, and in general recent farm bills have taken longer to enact than in previous decades. Recent farm bills, beginning with the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246), have been subject to various
developments that have delayed enactment, such as insufficient votes to pass the House floor, presidential vetoes, or short-term extensions.
This report examines the major legislative milestones for the last 11 farm bills covering 53 years and illustrates trends that may provide useful background and context as the current farm bill debate proceeds.