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The concept of separating federal farm payments from the requirement that farmers produce specified program crops and/or divert land from production. A chief goal of decoupling is to remove a seemingly inherent contradiction in traditional policy: asking farmers to reduce production, while implicitly encouraging more output by tying their benefits to each unit produced. The decoupling concept was first introduced during debate over policy options in the 1985 omnibus farm bill, and was effectively implemented by policy changes made by the FAIR Act of 1996.

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