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The 1996 Farm Bill marks a new direction for the government in agriculture. By decoupling payments from price levels for crops, it undermines long-run political support for programs. Dairy price supports will end in 2000, and nutrition programs will be on a separate reauthorization schedule from farm programs. Together, these actions should weaken the farm bill coalition, making the remaining programs much more difficult to reauthorize than in earlier years. The 1996 Farm Bill may be the last farm bill of its kind and the beginning of the end to active government involvement in agricultural markets.


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