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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Humane Treatment of Farm Animals: Overview and Issues

Humane Treatment of Farm Animals: Overview and Issues

Date: November 18, 2005
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey
Description: Animal protection activists in the United States have long sought legislation to modify or curtail some practices considered by U.S. agriculture to be both acceptable and necessary to animal health. Some Members of Congress over the years have offered various bills that would affect animal care on the farm, during transport, or at slaughter. The House and Senate Agriculture Committees from time to time have held hearings on farm animal welfare issues, but their members generally express a preference for voluntary rather than regulatory approaches to humane methods of care. This report briefly provides an overview of the subject.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Agriculture:  Prospective Issues for Congress

Agriculture: Prospective Issues for Congress

Date: January 3, 2005
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: A number of issues affecting U.S. agriculture could receive attention during the 109th Congress. Some are related to new initiatives or to unfinished legislation from the 108th Congress; others have been the focus of ongoing congressional oversight. Although the current (2002) farm bill (P.L. 107-171) generally does not expire until 2007, the agriculture committees could begin hearings on a new measure as early as 2005. The farm bill spells out the types and levels of benefits provided to producers and landowners under commodity price support and conservation programs, both of which could receive close scrutiny in the coming year as lawmakers seek ways to control federal spending. Other concerns include agroterrorism, food safety, and animal and plant diseases (e.g., “mad cow” disease); interest in multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations; the rising cost of energy on farms; environmental issues; and a number of agricultural marketing matters.
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Agriculture Support Mechanisms in the European Union: A Comparison with the United States

Agriculture Support Mechanisms in the European Union: A Comparison with the United States

Date: July 31, 2002
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: The European Union (EU), comprised of 15 member states (countries), is one of the United States’ chief agricultural trading partners and also a major competitor in world markets. Both heavily support their agricultural sectors, with a large share of such support concentrated on wheat, feed grains, cotton, oilseeds, sugar, dairy, and tobacco. However, the EU provides more extensive support to a broader range of farm and food products. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the EU and United States in 2001 together accounted for nearly two-thirds of all government support to agriculture among the major developed economies. However, EU agricultural spending generally is much higher than in the United States. Information comparing how the U.S. and EU governments support their producers is expected to be of interest to policymakers while negotiations are underway among world trading partners to further reform agricultural trade.
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Animal Agriculture: Issues for the 106th Congress

Animal Agriculture: Issues for the 106th Congress

Date: September 2, 1999
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses a variety of animal agriculture issues that generated debate during the 106th Congress, including low livestock prices, especially for hogs. Economic difficulties have revived questions such as the impacts of consolidation in the livestock industry, and the price effects of animal imports from Canada and Mexico. This report also discusses a number of legislative proposals to assist livestock producers and enforce sanitary and phytosanitary standards, as well as continuing trade disputes and negotiations with China, the European Union, New Zealand, and Australia.
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Animal Identification and Meat Traceability

Animal Identification and Meat Traceability

Date: March 7, 2006
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: U.S. animal agriculture is seeking to improve its ability to trace the movement of livestock from their birthplace to slaughter. The livestock and meat industries are working with the U.S. government to develop a national animal identification (ID) plan for livestock disease tracking purposes. This report focuses on animal ID and, to a lesser extent, on meat traceability.
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Animal Identification and Meat Traceability

Animal Identification and Meat Traceability

Date: September 2, 2005
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: U.S. animal agriculture is seeking to improve its ability to trace the movement of livestock from their birthplace to slaughter. The livestock and meat industries are working with the U.S. government to develop a national animal identification (ID) plan for livestock disease tracking purposes. This report focuses on animal ID and, to a lesser extent, on meat traceability.
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Animal Rendering: Economics and Policy

Animal Rendering: Economics and Policy

Date: March 17, 2004
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: Renderers convert dead animals and animal byproducts into ingredients for a wide range of industrial and consumer goods, such as animal feed, soaps, candles, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. This report describes the rendering industry and discusses several industry-related issues that arose in the 108th Congress.
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Cattle Prices: Questions and Answers

Cattle Prices: Questions and Answers

Date: November 14, 1996
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: After 7 years of relatively high returns, cattle producers by 1994 were experiencing steeply falling prices--mainly caused by abundant supplies of cattle destined for U.S. feedlots. Record-high grain prices and dry pastures amplified the problem. Because of the lengthy biological cycle governing cattle production, large numbers will be coming onto the market for some time, as producers undertake the slow process of curtailing herd expansion.
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Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program

Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program

Date: November 28, 2006
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses “Section 32”, which is a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has earmarked the equivalent of 30% of annual customs receipts to support the farm sector through a variety of activities. Today, most of this appropriation (now approximately $6.5 billion yearly) is transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) account that funds child nutrition programs.
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Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program

Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program

Date: June 22, 1999
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses "Section 32", which is a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has earmarked the equivalent of 30% of annual customs receipts to support the farm sector through a variety of activities. Today, most of this sizeable appropriation (now about $5.7 billion per year) is simply transferred directly into the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) child nutrition account to fund school feeding and other programs.
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Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program

Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program

Date: August 26, 2005
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses "Section 32", which is a permanent appropriation that since 1935 has earmarked the equivalent of 30% of annual customs receipts to support the farm sector through a variety of activities. Today, most of this sizeable appropriation (totaling approximately $6 billion each year) is transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) child nutrition account.
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Farm Bill Trade and Food Aid Provisions

Farm Bill Trade and Food Aid Provisions

Date: January 28, 2003
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses the trade provisions of omnibus farm legislation, passed and signed into law in May 2002. The measure includes a trade title reauthorizing, through 2007, the major foreign food aid and agricultural export programs. It also contains other provisions affecting agricultural trade, including new country-of-origin labeling requirements for meat, seafood, and produce; and increased domestic farm subsidies with possible implications for U.S. trade relations.
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Farm Bill Trade and Food Aid Provisions

Farm Bill Trade and Food Aid Provisions

Date: May 8, 2002
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses the trade provisions of omnibus farm legislation, passed in May 2002. The measure includes a trade title reauthorizing, through 2007, the major foreign food aid and agricultural export programs. It also contains other provisions affecting agricultural trade, including new country-of-origin labeling requirements for meat, seafood, and produce; and increased domestic farm subsidies with possible implications for U.S. trade relations.
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Farm Commodity Legislation: Chronology, 1933-98

Farm Commodity Legislation: Chronology, 1933-98

Date: February 9, 1999
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: Farm commodity programs were a product of the Great Depression. This report discusses the history of farm commodity legislation. Since 1933, Congress has required the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to administer a variety of programs providing price support and income protection for the nations farmers.
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Farm Commodity Legislation: Chronology, 1933-2002

Farm Commodity Legislation: Chronology, 1933-2002

Date: May 31, 2002
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses legislation regarding commodities and price supports. Since 1933, Congress has required the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to administer various price and income support programs for U.S. farmers. Some standing authority for these programs is provided by three permanent laws, from 1938, 1948, and 1949. However, Congress frequently alters the basic provisions of these laws. The omnibus law now guiding farm support (through 2007) is the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.
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Farm Commodity Programs: A Short Primer

Farm Commodity Programs: A Short Primer

Date: February 7, 2005
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: None
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Farm Commodity Programs: A Short Primer

Farm Commodity Programs: A Short Primer

Date: September 14, 2001
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report briefly discusses programs designed to provide income support, price support, and/or supply management for approximately 20 specified agricultural commodities. USDA farm support programs represent the heart of U.S. farm policy, by virtue of their longevity – they have existed since the early 1930s – and their cost.
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Farm Commodity Programs: A Short Primer

Farm Commodity Programs: A Short Primer

Date: June 20, 2002
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report briefly discusses programs designed to provide income support, price support, and/or supply management for approximately 20 specified agricultural commodities. USDA farm support programs represent the heart of U.S. farm policy, by virtue of their longevity – they have existed since the early 1930s – and their cost.
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Farm Program Spending: What's Permitted Under the Uruguay Round Agreements

Farm Program Spending: What's Permitted Under the Uruguay Round Agreements

Date: March 13, 2001
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses farm income and commodity price support proposals that might succeed the programs due to expire in 2002. A key question being asked of virtually every new proposal is how it will affect U.S. commitments under the 1994 Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (URAA), which commitsthe United States to spend no more than $19.1 billion annually on domestic farm supports most likely to distort trade. The URAA spells out the rules for countries to determine whether their policies are potentially trade distorting, and to calculate the costs.
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Farm Support Programs and World Trade Commitments

Farm Support Programs and World Trade Commitments

Date: July 20, 2001
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: Congress is now debating reauthorization of omnibus farm legislation, as most commodityprice support provisions expire in 2002. This report discusses this debate, specifically aspects relating to commitments that the U.S. has as a World Trade Organization (WTO) member. Because of the interrelationships between trade and domestic support policies, lawmakers are interested in what the Agreement on Agriculture stipulates with regard to domestic supports, and how not only the United States but also other countries are meeting their Agreement commitments.
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Farmers' Markets: The USDA Role

Farmers' Markets: The USDA Role

Date: January 3, 2006
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses federal programs aimed at promoting farmers’ markets. Policy issues include the extent to which the programs contribute to the markets’ success, and the need if any for additional governmental support.
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Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-off") Programs

Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-off") Programs

Date: May 3, 1996
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses legislation establishing national generic promotion ("check-off') programs for 20 specified farm commodities. Thirteen of the 20 authorized programs are now in effect.
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Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-Off") Programs

Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-Off") Programs

Date: May 24, 2005
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses the so-called beef check-off program, one of a number of generic promotion programs for beef and other agricultural products that Congress has authorized in recent decades. Supporters view check-offs as economically beneficial self-help activities that need minimal government involvement or taxpayer funding. Producers, handlers, and/or importers are required to pay an assessment, usually deducted from revenue at time of sale — thus the name check-off. However, some farmers contend they are being “taxed” for advertising and related activities they would not underwrite voluntarily.
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Horse Slaughter Prevention Bills and Issues

Horse Slaughter Prevention Bills and Issues

Date: November 7, 2005
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S
Description: This report discusses the debate in Congress on whether to ban horse slaughter and the acceptability of this practice.
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