Farm Bill

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the farm bill, was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2018.

The Center for Rural Affairs was glad to see many of the changes in the final bill to strengthen conservation and supports for rural communities, but it left a great deal to be desired on structural changes to agricultural policy and funding for particular programs.

You can read our statement on the bill here, and review our original policy platform for the bill here.

We’ll continue working with Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to monitor implementation of the 2018 farm bill. Scroll down for our most recent work on farm bill programs and implementation. For more updates, you can sign up for our newsletter here.

Do you have questions about farm programs or the farm bill?

Do you have questions about how the farm bill can help you? Call or email us today. We want to help you access sustainable agriculture, organic and beginning farmer and rancher programs.

By phone (a.k.a The Helpline): Call 402.687.2100 and ask for the Farm Bill Helpline, or email Anna at

What we can do for you

Do you have questions about how to participate in the following farm programs?

  • Conservation Stewardship Program
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program
  • Whole Farm Revenue Protection
  • USDA programs for beginning, socially disadvantaged, or veteran farmers

Give us a call and learn about what farm bill programs are and will be available, what the current status of each is and when to expect each program to become available.

If you have thoughts to share with us, you can reach us at

Why we do this

The Center for Rural Affairs has a long history of hosting hotlines to help family farmers and ranchers access new conservation programs. We want to make sure the farmers, ranchers and rural communities we fight for have access to farm bill programs and understand how they work.

Additionally, this will help us learn from you, the farmers and ranchers across the country, how USDA is implementing these programs and how they are working on the ground. When you call and share your experience with us, it helps us know what changes to advocate for with USDA or Congress.

Farm Bill Notes


Conservation for Rural Communities: Center for Rural Affairs Farm Bill Implementation Recommendations

The Center for Rural Affairs has been fighting for strong and healthy rural communities for several decades. Early in our history, we recognized that well-managed, diversified farming operations are key to rural community vitality. For example, diverse on-farm income streams offer economic resiliency. Crops and livestock managed together can cycle nutrients within the farm and build soil health and improve water quality. Healthy and profitable farms and ranches in turn help support rural businesses and communities.

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Saluting Service: A Guide to Lending and Farm Program Resources for Veterans

With the average age of a farmer at nearly 60 years, and millions of acres expected to change hands over the next few years, many Americans are thinking about who the next generation of producers will be.

Investment in the next generation of producers is garnering attention with key congressional leaders who participate in the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, and the Secretary of Agriculture. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the farm bill, included many program changes that were targeted to improve access to farm programs for beginning, socially-disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers. Despite these policy advances, many producers face barriers that impede their ability to start or maintain successful farming operations.

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Our recommendations to make EQIP more accessible and streamlined

Since 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs has advocated for conservation as a valuable tool for farmers and ranchers to establish and grow their operations, including supporting programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

With passage of the farm bill in December 2018, the Center for Rural Affairs’ attention turns to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is responsible for enacting the farm bill.

Programs could help veterans become next generation of producers 

With the average age of a U.S. farmer at nearly 60 years, and millions of acres expected to change hands over the next few years, military veterans have a key role to play as the nation looks for the next generation of producers.

To do so, veterans will need assistance overcoming barriers, such as accessing land and the lack of assets or cash flow to purchase land, equipment, and farm inputs.

Access to credit is an important component of most farming operations, especially for new and beginning producers.

Cover crops have Kansas farmer covered

Gene Albers joined his family’s tradition of farming in south central Kansas in the 1970s.

After working the land with their father, Gene and his two brothers became farmers. Now, with years of experience behind him, Gene is beginning to retire from his 1,200 acre cattle, wheat, and soybean operation.