Grain crops are categorized various ways, and none of the categories are precisely defined. Cereals are members of the grass family cultivated primarily for their starchy seeds. They may be used as human food or livestock feed depending upon region and/or cultural tradition. Wheat, rice, corn (maize), rye, oats, barley, sorghum (milo), and some of the millets are common cereals. The category small grains typically includes wheat, barley, oats, and rye. Coarse grains or feed grains generally refers to those used primarily for animal feed (i.e., corn, barley, oats, sorghum). Food grains refers to wheat and rice. Sometimes, oilseed crops are included in discussions of grain crops. Wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, rice, soybeans, other oilseeds are called covered commodities in the 2002 farm bill and are eligible for marketing loans, direct payments, and counter-cyclical (P.L. 101-171, Title I).

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