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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Year: 2006
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Agricultural Biotechnology: Background and Recent Issues

Agricultural Biotechnology: Background and Recent Issues

Date: September 5, 2006
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: Since the first genetically engineered (GE) crops (also called GM [genetically modified] crops, or GMOs, genetically modified organisms) became commercially available in the mid-1990s, U.S. soybean, cotton, and corn farmers have rapidly adopted them. As adoption has spread, there have been policy debates over the costs and benefits of GE products. Issues include the impacts of GE crops on the environment and food safety, and whether GE foods should be specially labeled. Congress generally has been supportive of GE agricultural products, although some Members have expressed wariness about their adoption and regulation. The 109th Congress will likely continue to follow trade developments, particularly the U.S.-EU dispute, as well as U.S. regulatory mechanisms for approving biotech foods.
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Agricultural Biotechnology: The U.S.-EU Dispute

Agricultural Biotechnology: The U.S.-EU Dispute

Date: March 10, 2006
Creator: Hanrahan, Charles E.
Description: In May 2003, the United States, Canada, and Argentina initiated a formal challenge before the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the European Union’s (EU’s) de facto moratorium on approving new agricultural biotechnology products, in place since 1998. Although the EU effectively lifted the moratorium in May 2004 by approving a genetically engineered (GE) corn variety, the three countries are pursuing the case, in part because a number of EU member states continue to block approved biotech products. Because of delays, the WTO is expected to decide the case by December 2005. The moratorium reportedly cost U.S. corn growers some $300 million in exports to the EU annually. The EU moratorium, U.S. officials contend, threatened other agricultural exports not only to the EU, but also to other parts of the world where the EU approach to regulating agricultural biotechnology is taking hold.
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Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Date: October 6, 2006
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 non-insured assistance program and emergency disaster loans. In recent years, Congress frequently has made supplemental financial assistance available to farmers and ranchers on an ad-hoc basis, most notably in the form of direct crop disaster payments and emergency livestock assistance. Congress provided an estimated $3.1 billion of such assistance in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-7) for 2001 and 2002 crop and livestock losses. Some farm groups would like to see similar assistance provided for 2003 losses, particularly in regions of the Midwest and West that have experienced prolonged drought conditions. To date, no ad-hoc assistance has been made available for 2003 losses.
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Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Date: May 8, 2006
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, and emergency disaster loans. Since 1988, Congress regularly has made supplemental financial assistance available to farmers and ranchers, primarily in the form of crop disaster payments and emergency livestock assistance. The Senate-passed version of a pending FY2006 supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 4939) contains an adopted committee amendment that would provide an estimated additional $3.9 billion in various forms of farm assistance, including payments for major crop and livestock losses caused by any 2005 disaster, such as the drought in portions of the Midwest and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf.
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Agricultural Issues in the 109th Congress

Agricultural Issues in the 109th Congress

Date: October 6, 2006
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Description: A number of issues affecting U.S. agriculture have been or are being addressed by the 109th Congress. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-171), enacted in February 2006, included a net reduction in spending on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandatory programs of $2.7 billion over five years, and the reauthorization of a dairy income support program. Other issues of importance to agriculture during the second session of the 109th Congress include the consideration of emergency farm disaster assistance; multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations; concerns about agroterrorism, food safety, and animal and plant diseases (e.g., “mad cow” disease and avian flu); high energy costs; environmental issues; agricultural marketing matters; the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and farm labor issues.
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Agricultural Issues in the 109th Congress

Agricultural Issues in the 109th Congress

Date: January 13, 2006
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Description: A number of issues affecting U.S. agriculture are receiving attention in the 109th Congress. The conference agreement on the FY2006 omnibus budget reconciliation bill includes a net reduction in spending on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandatory programs of $2.7 billion over five years, and the reauthorization of a dairy income support program. Other issues of importance to agriculture during the second session of the 109th Congress include the possible consideration of emergency farm disaster assistance; multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations; concerns about agroterrorism, food safety, and animal and plant diseases (e.g., “mad cow” disease and avian flu); high energy costs; environmental issues; agricultural marketing matters, and the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. This report will be updated as significant developments ensue.
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Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2006 Appropriations

Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2006 Appropriations

Date: January 27, 2006
Creator: Monke, Jim
Description: This report is a guide to one of the regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture. It summarizes the status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related congressional activity, and is updated as events warrant. The report lists the key CRS staff relevant to the issues covered and related CRS products.
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Agriculture-Based Renewable Energy Production

Agriculture-Based Renewable Energy Production

Date: May 18, 2006
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Description: Since the late 1970s, U.S. policy makers at both the federal and state levels have enacted a variety of incentives, regulations, and programs to encourage the production and use of agriculture-based renewable energy. Motivations cited for these legislative initiatives include energy security concerns, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and raising domestic demand for U.S.-produced farm products. This report provides background information on farm-based energy production and how this fits into the national energy-use picture. It briefly reviews the primary agriculture-based renewable energy types and issues of concern associated with their production, particularly their economic and energy efficiencies and long-run supply. Finally, this report examines the major legislation related to farm-based energy production and use.
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Agriculture-Based Renewable Energy Production

Agriculture-Based Renewable Energy Production

Date: February 28, 2006
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Description: Since the late 1970s, U.S. policy makers at both the federal and state levels have enacted a variety of incentives, regulations, and programs to encourage the production and use of agriculture-based renewable energy. Motivations cited for these legislative initiatives include energy security concerns, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and raising domestic demand for U.S.-produced farm products. This report provides background information on farm-based energy production and how this fits into the national energy-use picture. It briefly reviews the primary agriculture-based renewable energy types and issues of concern associated with their production, particularly their economic and energy efficiencies and long-run supply. Finally, this report examines the major legislation related to farm-based energy production and use.
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Agriculture in the U.S.-Dominican Republic Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA)

Agriculture in the U.S.-Dominican Republic Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA)

Date: January 12, 2006
Creator: Jurenas, Remy
Description: On August 2, 2005, President Bush signed into law the bill to implement the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement, or DR-CAFTA (P.L. 109-53, H.R. 3045). In DR-CAFTA, the United States and six countries will completely phase out tariffs and quotas — the primary means of border protection — on all but four agricultural commodities traded between them in stages up to 20 years. The four exempted products are as follows: for the United States, sugar; for Costa Rica, fresh onions and fresh potatoes; and for the four other Central American countries, white corn. DR-CAFTA’s provisions, once fully implemented, are expected to result in trade gains, though small, for the U.S. agricultural sector. This report describes this agreement in detail, as well as the stances of both supporters and detractors.
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