Legislation: The Farm Bill
October 06,1985


As a 27-year veteran of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, Dole worked on virtually every major piece of farm legislation during that time. Of these, the 1985 Farm Bill was perhaps the most important. The booming farm exports of the 1970s had kept exports and prices high. However, by the early 1980s inflation and climbing interest rates put the American farmer in danger. Many were forced to abandon their farms and look elsewhere for work; while a troubled nation could not understand why federal farm aid had quadrupled in less than ten years. Dole, whose sympathies were always with the rural Kansas farmer, understood that cutting subsidies to farmers was completely unrealistic. Simultaneously, the White House was seeking immediate reductions in costs. Senator Dole led dozens of closed-door meetings that resulted in a five year farm bill that both cut costs and kept subsidies intact. He did what many thought was impossible—address the national deficit while protecting the American farmer.