Befuddled by the Farm Bill? Online ‘visualizer’ can help.

When it comes to the federal Farm Bill, there are two kinds of people. Those who are confused by it, and those who pretend that they’re not. Regardless of where you place yourself, here’s a resource that can help you understand a piece of legislation that has profound impacts on issues related to food, nutrition, fiber, natural resources and more.

The Farm Bill Budget Visualizer, a project of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, uses interactive “treemap” technology to share information about the budget of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, aka the 2008 Farm Bill. Treemapping uses nested rectangles to display data, allowing users to “see” the federal funding received by programs within the Bill, and to examine how funding has been allocated across a range of issues from public health to commodity grain production to conservation.