AgLetter: April 1996
President Clinton signed new legislation on April 4 that will govern farm income and price support programs for the next seven years. Dubbed the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform (FAIR) Act of 1996, the signing brought an end to a debate that lasted far longer and took more twists than had been expected. Like earlier farm bills, this one is broad based, encompassing issues related to trade, conservation, food assistance, credit, rural development, research and extension. With respect to farm income and price support programs, the distinguishing features of the new Act are the fixed crop payments irrespective of crop prices, the flexibility given to participants for determining what crops to plant, and a restructuring of the dairy support program.