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Public Policy Formulation and Implementation

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Since the turn of the year in 2018, the legislative body alone with the Trump administration have been negotiating over legislative priorities. Many topics were on the agenda, from health care to substructure, but there was little discussion of fundamental priorities such as the 2018 Farm Bill. Like many bills, the farm bill was implemented using the Systems Approach to Policy Analysis. Its extensive and intellectual nature restricts the effectiveness of the systems theory in reviewing public policy. Just as the Farm Bill, the system theory does not say a lot around the processes and developments by which choices were presented, and plans were established.

Understanding the System Model

When using the Systems Model, it is important to realize that although the model is considered useful, it still has several restrictions. Although the system model is deemed to be beneficial, it still has several limits. Thomas Dye argues that in the Systems Model essential characteristics of the political system plays an integral part in the policy development of transforming decisions into policies has been deficient. Due to this bill being in existence for such a long period and has only been modified throughout the years, precisely every five years, it is considered to be a part of the system model.

The systems theory in political science owes its origin to David Easton who is reputed to be the scholar that attempted to analyses politics from the perspective of systems in his famous work political system, which appeared in 1953. His work which is regarded as the foundation of the behaviorist revolution in political science outlined eight significant characteristics. He described the attributes as the intellectual foundation stone of behaviorism which are regularities, verification, techniques, quantification, values, systemization, pure science, and integration. According to Varma, Easton was able to distill these characteristics from a range of behavioral literature, and while they are not unique to systems theory, they do form the basis for the natural linkage between systems thinking and behaviorism.

Understanding Public Policy

It is also good to understand public policy and the complications that could occur when implementing any system. Public Policy is defined differently by many individuals. For instance, according to Kraft and Furlong (2010), “Public policy is what public officials within government, by extension of the citizens they represent, choose to do or not to do about public problems. Public Policy is seen differently through the eyes of many because according to Anderson (2006), Public policy is a “relatively stable, purposive course of action followed by an actor or set of actors in dealing with a problem or matter of concern” A policy established and carried out by the government goes through several stages from inception to conclusion. They are agenda building, formulation, adoption, implementation, evaluation, and termination.

Implementing the 2018 Farm Bill

These were all the stages involved in implementing the 2018 Farm Bill or Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The Farm Bill has been an ongoing and primary conversation for individual’s receiving government assistance, and the Farm Bill is will effect that the United States as a whole once it is fully executed, the bill itself is very vital. The Farm bill has been in existence since 1933 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelts Agricultural Adjustment Act. The Farm Bill initial intent was to provide subsidies to U.S. farmers in the midst of the Great Depression. The provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill acquired Titles, which is divided amongst specific categories such as commodities; conservation; trade; nutrition; credit; United States rural development; research; forestry; energy; horticulture; crop insurance; and miscellaneous. Those same Titles exist within the bill today and new titles can be added to the Farm Bill during the re-authorization process; just as the Energy title was created in 2002. This is an example of the system theory founded by David Easton and Chester Barnard.

Discussions begin in the House and Senate Agricultural Committees, where hearings are held to review current policies, introduce possible changes to the legislation, and determine funding strategies for any revisions. This is all a part of the system design model. Afterward, these discussions are generally held two years before the deadline for re-authorization. At the same time, representatives from Congress hold meetings with trade organizations, farm lobbyists, and civil society organizations who have interests in the contents of the Farm Bill. Lawmakers also conduct regional and local town hall meetings to gather input from their constituents about the Farm Bill.

In conclusion, using the systems approach, it is assumed that a state of mutual causation exists between public policy and environmental variables This comprehensive food and agriculture legislation are typically enacted every four or five years. Drafting the farm bill challenges Congress to meet broad needs with limited resources just as Thomas Dye implied. The new farm bill will be especially constrained by a passage of the GOP tax plan, which sharply reduces taxes on the wealthy and large companies, and by concerns about the size of the federal budget deficit. Farm bill proponents will have to work even harder now than in the past to underscore the magnitude and impact of this legislation, and how it affects everyone living in the United States, especially the poor.


  1. Abdulsami, I. (1987). The Concept and Process of Public Policy. A paper presented at the national workshop for chief nursing officers, in Zaria, Wednesday 3rd June, 1987.
  2. Anderson, James E . Public policymaking: An introduction, 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2006.
  3. Dye, Thomas R., 1980, Understanding Public Policy, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs.
  4. Johnson, Renee, and Jim Monke. “What is the Farm Bill?” Congressional Research Service, 23 July 2014.
  5. Dye, Thomas R. Understanding public policy, 12 ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008.
  6. Kraft, Michael E. and Scott R. Furlong. Public Policy: Politics, Analysis and Alternatives, 3rd ed. Washington, D.C. CQ Press, 2010
  7. Obi, E.A, Nwachukwu, C.L. and Obiora, A.C. (2008).Public Policy Analysis and Decision Making. Onitsha: Bookpoint Educational Ltd.
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