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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Freedom to Farm, Changes in Planted Acres, and Policy Observations

An important change in U.S. farm policy occurred when the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 eliminated acreage set asides. Supply controls had been a feature of U.S. farm policy since the Agricultural Adjustment of 1933. This article examines both the short and longer term changes in 2 aspects of managing a farm that resulted from the so-called "Freedom to Farm" provision:

► it allowed farms to increase planted acres by eliminating set asides, and

► it allowed farms, with some exceptions, to plant whatever crop was most profitable.

In short, Freedom to Farm increased the management flexibility of U.S. farms.

Date published: 
Wednesday, March 7, 2012