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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Programs Without a Budget Baseline at the End of the 2008 Farm Bill
This report discusses the 2008 farm bill (the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, P.L. 110-246), which provided mandatory funding for many programs. Some of these programs had budget baseline beyond the end of the farm bill in FY2012, while others did not. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287942/
What Is the Farm Bill?
This report discusses the farm bill, which is an omnibus, multi-year piece of authorizing legislation that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287902/
Farm Commodity Provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill (P.L. 113-79)
This report describes the farm commodity programs in Title I of the 2014 farm bill for "covered commodities" such as wheat, corn, soybeans, rice, and peanuts. Producer support is provided for the 2014-2018 crop years primarily through either statutory ("reference") prices or historical revenue guarantees based on the five most recent years of crop prices and yields. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc284467/
What Is the Farm Bill?
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc284528/
Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling
This report covers the dispute between the U.S with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, who say that the recent country-of-origin labeling (COOL) system implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is unfair and does not meet its original objectives. This dispute was brought before the WTO dispute panel and found to be valid. The report ends with a discussion of options for the U.S. in regards to modifying COOL to follow WTO rulings. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276878/
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
This report discusses concerns about food safety, the resources required to ensure food safety, and whether federal food safety laws themselves, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276872/
The U.S. Trade Situation for Fruit and Vegetable Products
This report presents recent trends in U.S. fruit and vegetable trade and highlights some of the factors contributing to these trends. This summary excludes trade data for tree nuts and processed tree nut products. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276902/
Generalized System of Preferences: Agricultural Imports
This report discusses the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which provides duty-free tariff treatment for certain products from designated developing countries. Opinion within the U.S. agriculture industry is mixed, reflecting both support for and opposition to the current program. The 111th Congress did not extend the GSP in 2010, and it was set to expire December 31, 2010, which will likely become a legislative issue in the 112th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276892/
Reauthorization of SNAP and Other Nutrition Programs in the Next Farm Bill: Issues for the 113th Congress
This report discusses the Nutrition Title (Title IV) of the pending farm bills and elaborates on the most controversial issues and differences between Senate and House proposals. Policies that are not necessarily controversial but are complex are also included in this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272066/
Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling
This report covers the dispute between the U.S with its neighbors Canada and Mexico, who say that the recent country-of-origin labeling (COOL) system implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is unfair and does not meet its original objectives. This dispute was brought before the WTO dispute panel and found to be valid. The report ends with a discussion of options for the U.S. in regards to modifying COOL to follow WTO rulings. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc228156/
Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling
Report that covers the dispute between the U.S with its neighbors Canada and Mexico, who say that the recent country-of-origin labeling (COOL) system implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is unfair and does not meet its original objectives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc228155/
What Is the Farm Bill?
Report that describes the Farm Bill (P.L. 110-246, "2008 farm bill"), the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, which was enacted into law on June 18, 2008. It discusses the most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) "baseline" budget (May 2013 digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc228139/
Agricultural Export Programs: Background and Issues
Report that discusses the agricultural export programs that aim to develop overseas markets for U.S. agricultural products. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227668/
The 2013 Farm Bill: A Comparison of the Senate-Passed Bill (S. 954) and House- Reported Bill (H.R. 1947) with Current Law
Report that provides a side-by-side comparison of every provision in the House Agriculture Committee-reported and Senate-passed farm bills with each other and with current law or policy, as amended and extended by the fiscal cliff bill. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227860/
Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling
This report covers the dispute between the U.S with its neighbors Canada and Mexico, who say that the recent country-of-origin labeling (COOL) system implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is unfair and does not meet its original objectives. This dispute was brought before the WTO dispute panel and found to be valid. The report ends with a discussion of options for the U.S. in regards to modifying COOL to follow WTO rulings. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96817/
The Navy Biofuel Initiative Under the Defense Production Act
This report looks at the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to “assist the development and support of a sustainable commercial biofuels industry" which was entered into by the Secretaries of Energy, Agriculture, and the Navy. It raises issues and concerns for Congress to consider when deciding how to fund MOU. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93938/
The Dominican Republic-Central America- United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA DR): Developments in Trade and Investment
On August 5, 2004, the United States entered into the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). This permanent, comprehensive, and reciprocal trade agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff barriers to two-way trade, building on unilateral trade preferences begun under the 1983 Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). CAFTA-DR reinforces the idea that growth in trade correlates closely with policies that promote economic stability, private investment in production, public investment in education, infrastructure, logistics, and good governance in general. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc85400/
The Dominican Republic-Central America- United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTADR): Developments in Trade and Investment
On August 5, 2004, the United States entered into the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). This permanent, comprehensive, and reciprocal trade agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff barriers to two-way trade, building on unilateral trade preferences begun under the 1983 Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). CAFTA-DR reinforces the idea that growth in trade correlates closely with policies that promote economic stability, private investment in production, public investment in education, infrastructure, logistics, and good governance in general. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84026/
Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress
The use of biomass as an energy feedstock is emerging as a potentially viable alternative to address U.S. energy security concerns, foreign oil dependence, rural economic development, and diminishing sources of conventional energy. Biomass (organic matter that can be converted into energy) may include food crops, crops for energy, crop residues, wood waste and byproducts, and animal manure. Most legislation involving biomass has focused on encouraging the production of liquid fuels from corn. For over 30 years, the term biomass has been a part of legislation enacted by Congress for various programs, indicating some interest by the general public and policymakers in expanding its use. To aid understanding of why U.S. consumers, utility groups, refinery managers, and others have not fully adopted biomass as an energy resource, this report investigates the characterization of biomass in legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86549/
Previewing the Next Farm Bill
Congress periodically establishes agricultural and food policy in an omnibus farm bill. The 112th Congress faces reauthorization of the current five-year farm bill because many of its provisions expire in 2012. The 2008 farm bill contained 15 titles covering farm commodity support, horticulture, livestock, conservation, nutrition assistance, international food aid, trade, agricultural research, farm credit, rural development, bioenergy, and forestry, among others. Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees anticipate having a new farm bill completed before the end of this session. If the current farm bill expires without a new authorization or a temporary extension, it automatically would be replaced with permanent statutes for farm commodity support, which are not fully compatible with current national economic objectives, global trading rules, and federal budgetary or regulatory policies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87214/
Agriculture in Pending U.S. Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama
This report discusses pending U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. The bills to implement these agreements will now be debated under trade promotion authority, or fast-track rules, designed to expedite congressional consideration. The report includes an overview of agricultural issues regarding FTAs and pending FTA partners, as well as a closer breakdown of the specific issues for each of the countries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93818/
Farm Safety Net Proposals for the 2012 Farm Bill
This report discusses three proposals-one by the National Cotton Council, one by Representative Neugebauer, and another by a private crop insurance company-focus on modifications to crop insurance programs. The National Farmers Union proposes to replace existing farm programs with a combination of farmer-owned-reserves, increased loan rates, and set asides. A proposed new dairy program-the Dairy Security Act-would provide a voluntary margin insurance program and market stabilization activities in place of current dairy programs. Finally, the proposed REFRESH Act (Senator Lugar) would eliminate most commodity programs (including the sugar program), and incorporate ARRM, the Dairy Security Act, and expanded whole-farm revenue insurance in their place. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83986/
Japan's 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami: Food and Agriculture Implications
The March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused widespread devastation that affected many of the country's agricultural and fishery areas. The nuclear crisis that followed at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, and the subsequent detection of radioactive contamination of food produced near the disabled facility, further raised fears about the safety of Japan's food production systems and its future food exports. Most reports acknowledge that Japan's current production and supply shortages, along with rising food safety concerns and possible longer-term radiation threats to its food production, could limit Japan's food exports while possibly increasing its need for food imports in the future. It is still not clear what effect, if any, Japan's current food supply and demand situation will have on world farm commodity markets and food prices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40133/
Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP): Status and Issues
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246, 2008 farm bill) created the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). This report discusses the two main purposes of BCAP, which are (1) to support the establishment and production of eligible crops for conversion to bioenergy in selected areas, and (2) to assist agricultural and forest land owners and operators with collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of eligible material for use in a biomass conversion facility. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40101/
Is Biopower Carbon Neutral?
This report discusses some of the most relevant factors to take into account when considering whether or not biopower is carbon neutral. It does not discuss carbon accounting for other bioenergy pathways. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99021/
U.S. and EU Agricultural Support: Overview and Comparison
This report uses data from two public sources to compare agricultural support between the United States and the European Union (EU): (1) estimates of domestic support for agricultural programs based on World Trade Organization (WTO) notifications; and (2) the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD's) country-level policy database. Each of these data sources uses a slightly different metric to evaluate agricultural support. The report includes an overview of farm programs in the U.S. and EU, comparisons of support based on the metrics, and conclusions with policy implications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99029/
Agriculture in Pending U.S. Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea
This report discusses pending U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. The bills to implement these agreements will now be debated under trade promotion authority, or fast-track rules, designed to expedite congressional consideration. The report includes an overview of agricultural issues regarding FTAs and pending FTA partners, as well as a closer breakdown of the specific issues for each of the countries. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103059/
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
Report concerning food safety, the resources required to ensure food safety, and whether federal food safety laws themselves, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc228151/
The World Trade Organization: The Non- Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) Negotiations
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122308/
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations for FY2011
This report provides an overview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) budget and operations. This report chronicles congressional action on the FY2011 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS), and Related Agencies Appropriations bills, as well as any FY2010 supplemental appropriations bills, that provide funding for ATF. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31468/
Generalized System of Preferences: Agricultural Imports
The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) provides duty-free tariff treatment for certain products from designated developing countries. Some in Congress have continued to call for changes to the program that could limit GSP benefits to certain countries, among other changes. Opinion within the U.S. agriculture industry is mixed, reflecting both support for and opposition to the current program. In the past few years, Congress has extended GSP through a series of short-term extensions. However, the 111th Congress did not extend the GSP in 2010, and it was set to expire December 31, 2010. The expiration of the GSP will likely become a legislative issues in the 112th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31496/
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
The combined efforts of the food industry and the regulatory agencies often are credited with making the U.S. food supply among the safest in the world. Nonetheless, many food-related health issues persist. At issue is whether the current U.S. regulatory system has the resources and structural organization to protect consumers from these dangers. Also at issue is whether the federal food safety laws themselves, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31457/
Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress
This report discusses the use of biomass as an energy feedstock, which is emerging as a potentially viable alternative to address U.S. energy security concerns, foreign oil dependence, rural economic development, and diminishing sources of conventional energy. Biomass (organic matter that can be converted into energy) may include food crops, crops for energy (e.g., switchgrass or prairie perennials), crop residues, wood waste and byproducts, and animal manure. This report discusses legislation regarding biomass, the evolving definition of biomass, and the positions of supporters and detractors of biomass as an alternative energy source. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29569/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report has two sections. The first provides an overview of the current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs: federal crop insurance, NAP payments, emergency disaster loans, the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), and four other smaller disaster programs authorized in the 2008 farm bill. The second section reviews the recent history of emergency supplemental farm disaster assistance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29731/
Agriculture-Based Biofuels: Overview and Emerging Issues
This report reviews the evolution of the U.S. biofuels sector and the role that federal policy has played in shaping its development. In addition, it highlights emerging issues that are critical to the biofuels sector and of relevance to Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29593/
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Legislative Action
In recent years, major outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, product recalls, and reports about unsafe food imports have caused some to question the adequacy of the U.S. food safety system. Stakeholders appear to agree that an optimal system should encompass a comprehensive, preventive approach to food safety, focusing on those foods and points in the food system that pose the greatest public health risks, starting at the point of production - that is, on farms and ranches. This report discusses differing opinions on this topic, as well as related legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29714/
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
The combined efforts of the food industry and the regulatory agencies often are credited with making the U.S. food supply among the safest in the world. Nonetheless, many food-related health issues persist. At issue is whether the current U.S. regulatory system has the resources and structural organization to protect consumers from these dangers. Also at issue is whether the federal food safety laws themselves, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29748/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
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. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (otherwise known as the 2008 farm bill) includes authorization and funding for crop disaster programs, livestock assistance programs, and a tree assistance program. The new programs are designed to address the ad hoc nature of disaster assistance provided to producers during the last two decades. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26312/
Potential Farm Sector Effects of 2009 H1N1 "Swine Flu": Questions and Answers
This report discusses how the outbreak of the strain of influenza A (H1N1), commonly referred to as "swine flu," affected the domestic and international pork markets. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26156/
Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector and Congressional Action
The debate in Congress over whether and how to address possible future climate change is intensifying. Often, the role of the U.S. agriculture sector is invoked in this debate. Agriculture is a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which many scientists agree are contributing to observed climate change. Congress is considering a range of climate change policy options, including GHG emission reduction programs that would either mandate or authorize a cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions. This report discusses this issue in detail, i.e., how the agricultural industry affects GHG emissions and efforts currently underway to combat these negative effects, but it does not address the potential effects of global climate change on U.S. agricultural production. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26255/
Estimates of Carbon Mitigation Potential from Agricultural and Forestry Activities
Numerous theoretical and empirical studies estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of farm and forestry activities, and suggest that the potential for carbon uptake in agricultural soils and forest lands is much greater than current rates. Following a discussion of the estimated current emissions and carbon sequestration by the agricultural and forestry sectors, this report presents a brief overview of the available estimates from USDA and EPA carbon mitigation studies, and then discusses some of the limitations of the available data and modeling results. This report is organized into four parts, including a brief overview of the agriculture and forestry sectors within the broader climate change debate, as well as various data and information on potential for carbon storage and mitigation from farming and forestry activities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26136/
Agriculture in Pending U.S. Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea
The 111th Congress in coming months might take up free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by the Bush Administration with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea under trade promotion authority, or fast-track rules, designed to expedite congressional consideration of these agreements. Accordingly, agriculture as covered in each pending trade agreement is examined in this report in the order that Congress likely will take up these agreements, based upon statements made to date by Obama Administration officials and Members of Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26158/
Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87304/
Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-off") Programs
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 affirmed the constitutionality of the so-called beef check-off program, one of the 18 generic promotion programs for agricultural products that are now active nationally. 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. The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the beef check-off is considered significant for the future of the other programs, although the Court left open the possibility of additional challenges. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26082/
Measuring and Monitoring Carbon in the Agricultural and Forestry Sectors
Proposals to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases often include the use of forestry and agricultural practices and lands for carbon sequestration. However, uncertainty about the accuracy of measuring carbon from these activities has led some to question this potential. Basic approaches for measuring forest and agricultural carbon include on-site measurement; indirect measurement from off-site tools; and estimation using models or inferences. Because of challenges associated with balancing the cost and accuracy of these measurement tools, any practicable system for measuring forest and agricultural carbon might require a mix of these approaches. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10802/
The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94114/
Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94024/
What Is the “Farm Bill”?
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94207/
Livestock Feed Costs: Concerns and Options
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94242/
Sugar Policy and the 2008 Farm Bill
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94110/
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