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Farm Bill Process: How the Bill Becomes Law

March 11, 2011
by Kasi Boyd

Note: If you’re new to the Farm Bill, also see Farm Bill Jargon 101.

2010 = Preparation for Farm Bill 2012

During the Spring of 2012, the process to reauthorize the 2012 Farm Bill begins. Here is how:

  • The House Agriculture Committee held hearings across 8 states to review current Ag policy.
  • Simultaneously, the US Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee began its review by hearing from witnesses about the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of the current policy.

These two committees prep the bill for the House or Senate, respectively. It is up to either the Speaker of the House or the Majority Leader of the Senate to put the bill on schedule for either floor.  If the bill passes through the House and then the Senate, the final step is the President’s signature.

Because the Farm Bill is being renewed and not created from scratch, this process is called reauthorization.

Each year following the renewal of the bill, a different committee (the House or Senate appropriations committee) is tasked with keeping the government on budget.  They decide to give programs more or less money.  This gives appropriations committees more power than most people realize because they ultimately decide which programs will get funded.

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