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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The 2008 Farm Bill: A Summary of Major Provisions and Legislative Action

The 2008 Farm Bill: A Summary of Major Provisions and Legislative Action

Date: June 19, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée; Becker, Geoffrey S. & Capehart, Tom
Description: The report discusses the 2008 farm bill (H.R. 2419), covering a wide range of programs including The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, farm credit, agricultural conservation, research, rural development, and foreign and domestic food programs, among others.
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Comparison of the 2008 Farm Bill Conference Agreement with the House and Senate Farm Bills

Comparison of the 2008 Farm Bill Conference Agreement with the House and Senate Farm Bills

Date: June 19, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée; Becker, Geoffrey S.; Richardson, Joe; Marples, Donald J. & Jickling, Mark
Description: This report compares the major provisions in the House- and Senate-passed bills and the conference agreement with each other and with the 2002 law, and provides a brief description of all individual sections or subsections within each title.
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Specialty Crops: 2008 Farm Bill Issues

Specialty Crops: 2008 Farm Bill Issues

Date: June 19, 2008
Creator: Rawson, Jean M.
Description: This report discusses the provisions for specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops) in the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act). Specialty crops are not eligible for direct support under USDA's farm commodity price and income support programs. Federal policies on trade, conservation, credit, marketing programs, domestic food assistance, and research also all affect the specialty crop sector.
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Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector

Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector

Date: June 20, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Description: This report is organized in three parts. First, it discusses the extent of GHG emissions associated with the U.S. agriculture sector, and cites current and potential estimates for U.S. agricultural soils to sequester carbon and partly offset national GHG emissions. Second, the report describes the types of land management and farm conservation practices that can reduce GHG emissions and/or sequester carbon in agricultural soils, highlighting those practices that are currently promoted under existing voluntary federal agricultural programs. The Appendix provides a summary primer of the key background information presented in these first two sections. Finally, the report describes ongoing legislative action within both the climate change and farm bill debates, and discusses the types of questions that may be raised regarding the role of the U.S. agriculture sector in the broader climate change debate.
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Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector

Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector

Date: June 20, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Description: This report is organized in three parts. First, it discusses the extent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the U.S. agriculture sector, and cites current and potential estimates for U.S. agricultural soils to sequester carbon and partly offset national GHG emissions. Second, the report describes the types of land management and farm conservation practices that can reduce GHG emissions and/or sequester carbon in agricultural soils, highlighting those practices that are currently promoted under existing voluntary federal agricultural programs. The Appendix provides a summary primer of the key background information presented in these first two sections. Finally, the report describes ongoing legislative action within both the climate change and farm bill debates, and discusses the types of questions that may be raised regarding the role of the U.S. agriculture sector in the broader climate change debate.
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International Food Aid Provisions

International Food Aid Provisions

Date: June 20, 2008
Creator: Hanrahan, Charles E.
Description: Provision of U.S. agricultural commodities for emergency relief and economic development is the United States' major response to food security problems in developing countries. Title III in the omnibus farm bill enacted in June 2008, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, reauthorizes and makes a number of changes in U.S. international food aid programs. Farm bill debate over U.S. food aid programs focused generally on how to make delivery of food aid more efficient and more effective. This report explores this and related legislation, as well as the areas of this ongoing and international issue that are continually debated.
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Livestock Feed Costs: Concerns and Options

Livestock Feed Costs: Concerns and Options

Date: June 30, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: Sharply higher feed costs, fueled by competing use demands for corn and soybeans and by rising energy prices, are affecting the beef, pork, dairy, and poultry industries. In contrast, wholesales prices for most animal products have held steady. Some analysts argue that current public policies, including financial incentives that divert corn from feed uses into ethanol production, have exacerbated if not caused these higher costs. Other factors include crop production declines due to weather, and higher global demand for consumption. Proposed options aimed at easing the impacts of higher feed costs include changes in ethanol incentives, use of conservation land for forage use, and direct aid to producers.
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The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress

The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress

Date: June 30, 2008
Creator: Shea, Dana A.; Monke, Jim & Gottron, Frank
Description: This report outlines current progress towards establishment of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), presents current and projected funding levels and timelines, and describes policy issues of potential interest to Congress, such as agency coordination, possession of viruses, construction timelines, disposition of PIADC, and community safety concerns.
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Animal Agriculture: 2008 Farm Bill Issues

Animal Agriculture: 2008 Farm Bill Issues

Date: July 1, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Johnson, Renée
Description: This report discusses a number of animal-related provisions related to the 2008 farm bill. It includes background and specific provisions from the bill for each of the issues and options analyzed in the report: market competition and packer concentration, livestock mandatory price reporting, meat and poultry safety, country-of-origin labeling, animal identification for health protection, animal welfare, feed prices, disaster assistance, and environmental issues. The report also provides a summary comparison of previous farm bills with the 2008 provisions for selected issues.
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Food Safety Provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill

Food Safety Provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill

Date: July 1, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: Food safety re-emerged as an issue in the 110th Congress following a series of widely publicized incidents -- including adulterated Chinese seafood and pet food ingredient imports, findings of bacteria-tainted spinach, meat, and poultry produced domestically, and several large food recalls. In 2008, Congress approved a new omnibus farm law that includes, among other provisions, several changes affecting U.S. food safety programs. This report outlines said provisions and explores the issue of food safety and related legislation in detail.
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Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Date: July 3, 2008
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Description: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several permanently authorized programs to help farmers recover financially from a natural disaster, including federal crop insurance, the noninsured assistance program (NAP), and emergency disaster loans. This report outlines the various agricultural disaster assistance appropriations included in the FY2007 Iraq war supplemental appropriations act; the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the 2008 farm bill; and the FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act.
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Midwest Floods of 2008: Potential Impact on Agriculture

Midwest Floods of 2008: Potential Impact on Agriculture

Date: July 16, 2008
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Description: This report discusses the widespread flooding across much of the Corn Belt that has cast considerable uncertainty over 2008 U.S. corn and soybean production prospects. Estimates of crop damage vary widely, and could change based on the extent of plant recovery or replanting.
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Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals

Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals

Date: August 8, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: This report discusses bills introduced into the 110th Congress pertaining to food safety that could affect farmers and ranchers. Several of these bills would expressly require enforceable on-farm safety standards.
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Midwest Floods of 2008: Potential Impact on Agriculture

Midwest Floods of 2008: Potential Impact on Agriculture

Date: August 18, 2008
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Description: This report discusses the potential impact on agriculture of June flooding across much of the Corn Belt. As much as 5 million acres of crop production were initially thought to be either lost entirely or subject to significant yield reductions.
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The World Trade Organization: The Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) Negotiations

The World Trade Organization: The Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) Negotiations

Date: August 19, 2008
Creator: Fergusson, Ian F.
Description: This report looks at the evolution of the Doha Round World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, possible effects of the Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) agreement, and major negotiating issues from a U.S. standpoint. NAMA refers to the cutting of tariff and non-tariff barriers (NTB) on industrial and primary products, basically all trade in goods which are not foodstuffs.
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Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA's Air Compliance Agreement

Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA's Air Compliance Agreement

Date: August 26, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, intended to produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a "safe harbor" from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
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U.S.-Russia Meat and Poultry Trade Issues

U.S.-Russia Meat and Poultry Trade Issues

Date: September 11, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: Russia announced on August 29, 2008, that it was banning poultry imports from 19 U.S. establishments due to safety concerns, and that 29 others could lose approval if they do not improve their standards. Russian officials also signaled that they might reduce U.S. permits to import poultry and pork under that country's quota system. The economic stakes of Russian import actions are high for U.S. poultry producers - 29% of their exports went to that market in 2007 - and red meat producers, who also are experiencing strong growth in the Russian market. In Congress, any potential options likely would be reviewed within the context of the broader geopolitical situation.
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Sugar Policy and the 2008 Farm Bill

Sugar Policy and the 2008 Farm Bill

Date: September 12, 2008
Creator: Jurenas, Remy
Description: This report discusses the provisions for sugar imports and the sugar price support program, which was reauthorized with some changes in the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act). It includes an overview of the sugar program as well as a breakdown of the issues from the 2008 farm bill including the level of sugar price support, controlling the sugar supply to protect sugar prices, sugar for ethanol, ang sugar program cuts. There is also an appendix comparing the 2008 farm bill provisions with previous legislation.
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Livestock Feed Costs: Concerns and Options

Livestock Feed Costs: Concerns and Options

Date: September 17, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: This report discusses higher livestock feed costs. The authors argue the current public policies, including financial incentives that divert corn from feed uses into ethanol production.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues

Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues

Date: September 23, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Cowan, Tadlock
Description: This report describes several scientifically-emerging animal biotechnologies that are raising a variety of questions concerning risks to humans, animals, and the environment, as well as ethical concerns. The report examines applications of the technologies and discusses major issues that may arise.
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What Is the “Farm Bill”?

What Is the “Farm Bill”?

Date: September 23, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Description: This report describes the Farm Bill (P.L. 110-246, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, which was enacted into law on June 18, 2008.
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Food and Agricultural Imports from China

Food and Agricultural Imports from China

Date: September 26, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: This report first provides information on the most recent Chinese-related food safety concern, the use of melamine in dairy ingredients. Following this section, the report provides data on U.S.-China trends in agricultural trade, examines U.S. programs to monitor the safety of imports, and reports on other recent Chinese food safety developments. It concludes with a brief discussion of the congressional role.
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The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress

The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress

Date: September 26, 2008
Creator: Shea, Dana A.; Monke, Jim & Gottron, Frank
Description: This report outlines current progress towards establishment of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), presents current and projected funding levels and timelines, and describes policy issues of potential interest to Congress, such as agency coordination, possession of viruses, construction timelines, disposition of PIADC, and community safety concerns.
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The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress

The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress

Date: September 26, 2008
Creator: Shea, Dana A.; Monke, Jim & Gottron, Frank
Description: This report outlines current progress towards establishment of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), presents current and projected funding levels and timelines, and describes policy issues of potential interest to Congress, such as agency coordination, possession of viruses, construction timelines, disposition of PIADC, and community safety concerns.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department