USDA has launched a new Web site aimed at helping farmers, ranchers and the general public learn the latest information about the new farm bill.

"The new farm bill is very broad and contains many new programs to assist America’s farmers and ranchers," says Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman. "This Web site will serve as a repository of information on the new farm bill as we begin vigorously implementing its provisions."

The Web site can be directly accessed from USDA’s official Web site at http://www.usda.gov/farmbill or by simply clicking on the 2002 Farm Bill icon on USDA’s main Web site at http://www.usda.gov/. The 2002 Farm Bill icon will also appear on USDA agency Web sites.

The new Web site will include farm bill program details, questions and answers, program applications and sign-up forms, as well as other important materials from USDA agencies on farm bill implementation. The Web site will also contain advanced electronic applications to help program applicants receive program benefits faster and more efficiently.

The Web site will help farmers, ranchers and others locate information through one site rather than searching through web pages of the many agencies that make up USDA. Information will be indexed by farm bill title and by agency. Users will be able to access specific agency information through the site and easily return to the home page by clicking on the Farm Bill 2002 logo located throughout USDA agencies’ web pages.

Information to be posted on the site over the next several weeks includes:

A comparison of 1996 Farm Bill provisions and 2002 provisions prepared by the Economic Research Service;

Fact sheets in English and Spanish that cover the changes in conservation programs administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service;

Information from the Farm Service Agency on program details and instructions on how to calculate new yields;

On-line applications and electronic forms to help make processing time more efficient.

The Web site will be updated regularly as new information and program announcements become available. The "What’s New" link will alert users to updates and added information.