Farm commodity programs represent the heart of U.S. farm policy. The 2002 farm bill establishes farm income support and commodity price support programs for the 2002-2007 crop years. The payment framework combines the direct payments of the 1996 farm bill wiht counter-cyclical payments of prior laws. About 25 commodities representing a third of gross farm sales qualify for support.
The 109th Congress is facing several issues regarding farm commodity programs, including budget reconciliation that could reopen the farm bill, payment limits, dairy program extension, planting flexibility, and resolution of trade disputes.