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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8736/
Farm Bill Trade and Food Aid Provisions
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8721/
Farm Bill Trade and Food Aid Provisions
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2125/
Farm Commodity Legislation: Chronology, 1933-98
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs830/
Farm Commodity Legislation: Chronology, 1933-2002
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8523/
Farm Commodity Programs: A Short Primer
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Farm Commodity Programs: A Short Primer
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1390/
Farm Commodity Programs: A Short Primer
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2122/
Farm Program Spending: What's Permitted Under the Uruguay Round Agreements
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1389/
Farm Support Programs and World Trade Commitments
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1379/
Farmers' Markets: The USDA Role
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9152/
Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-off") Programs
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs277/
Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-Off") Programs
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8533/
Horse Slaughter Prevention Bills and Issues
This report discusses the debate in Congress on whether to ban horse slaughter and the acceptability of this practice. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9127/
Humane Treatment of Farm Animals: Overview and Selected Issues
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An Introduction to Farm Commodity Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is required to provide assistance to 20 specified agricultural commodities, to achieve three primary objectives: to support prices, supplement incomes, and manage supplies. Supporters contend that financial help to the farm sector also ensures consumers an abundant supply of reasonably priced food. But critics believe that basic U.S. farm policies, conceived in the 1930s, no longer meet the needs of modern agriculture or society as a whole. This report discusses the various programs available for different commodities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs91/
Livestock Price Reporting: Background
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Livestock Price Reporting: Background
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Wheat, Feed Grains, Cotton, Rice, and Oilseeds Provisions of the Enacted 1996 Farm Bill
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Agriculture: U.S.-China Trade Issues
With China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2001, U.S. agricultural interests were hopeful that longstanding barriers to trade with that vast and growing market would begin to fall. However, critics charge that China is failing to honor commitments to open its markets, affecting U.S. exports of grains, oilseeds, meat and poultry, and other products. U.S. agriculture and trade officials have been working to resolve these differences. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8848/
U.S. Agricultural Biotechnology in Global Markets: An Introduction
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U.S. Agricultural Biotechnology in Global Markets: An Introduction
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Regulation of Plant-Based Pharmaceuticals
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Farm "Counter-Cyclical Assistance"
This report discusses recently approved legislation reauthorizing major farm income and commodity price support programs through crop year 2007. This legislation includes new “counter-cyclical assistance” programs for grains, cotton, oilseeds, peanuts, and milk. The intent of counter-cyclical assistance is to provide more government support when farm prices and/or incomes decline, and less support when they improve. In fact, farmers have, for many years, been eligible for various forms of counter-cyclical assistance. At issue has been the need for, and potential impacts of, another counter-cyclical program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2124/
Farm "Counter-Cyclical Assistance"
This report discusses the reauthorization of major farm income and commodity price support programs that expire after crop year 2002. Many agricultural interests expect that a new “counter-cyclical assistance” program will be an integral component of future farm policy. The intent of counter-cyclical assistance is to provide more government support when farm prices and/or incomes decline, and less support when they improve. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2123/
The 2002 Farm Law at a Glance
On May 13, 2002, President Bush signed the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA) of 2002 into law (P.L. 107-171). FSRIA is the latest in a long line of omnibus, multi-year farm bills. The 2002 law is the successor to the last omnibus measure, the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-127). This report, to be updated if events warrant, provides selected highlights. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2127/
Agricultural Biotechnology: Background and Recent Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9096/
Agricultural Exports: Technical Barriers to Trade
Technical barriers to trade (TBTs) are widely divergent measures that countries use to regulate rnarkets, protect their consumers, and preserve natural resources, but which can also discriminate against imports in favor of domestic products. Most TBTs in agriculture are sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures designed to protect humans, animals, and plants from contaminants, diseases, and pests. In the wake of new trade agreements aimed at reducing tariffs, import quotas, and other trade barriers, TBTs have become more prominent concerns for agricultural exporters and policymakers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs380/
Agricultural Marketing and Regulatory Provisions of the 1996 Farm Bill
The Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-127), signed into law on April 4, for the first time grants the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) broad-based authority to establish national generic promotion ("check-off") programs for virtually any agricultural commodity. Formerly, individual programs first had to be authorized expressly by Congress. The new law also explicitly authorizes the establishment of new check-off programs for rapeseed and canola, kiwifruit, and popcorn. Other provisions require USDA to establish a new meat and poultry inspection advisory committee; deal with the collection of user fees for the inspection of agricultural imports; and authorize new guidelines to protect horses being transported to slaughter facilities, among other things. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs280/
Farm and Food Support Under USDA's Section 32 Program
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10061/
The “Farm Bill” in Brief
Federal farm support, food assistance, agricultural trade, marketing, and rural development policies are governed by a variety of separate laws. Many of these laws periodically have been evaluated, revised, and renewed through an omnibus, multi-year farm bill. This report discusses the "farm bill" and it's components. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc815373/
The “Farm Bill” in Brief
Federal farm support, food assistance, agricultural trade, marketing, and rural development policies are governed by a variety of separate laws. Although many of these policies can be and sometimes are modified through freestanding authorizing legislation, or as part of other laws, the omnibus, multi-year farm bill provides an opportunity for policymakers to address agricultural and food issues more comprehensively. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc807595/
The “Farm Bill” in Brief
Federal farm support, food assistance, agricultural trade, marketing, and rural development policies are governed by a variety of separate laws. Many of these laws periodically have been evaluated, revised, and renewed through an omnibus, multi-year farm bill. This report discusses the "farm bill" and it's components. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820092/
The "Farm Bill" in Brief
Federal farm support, food assistance, agricultural trade, marketing, and rural development policies are governed by a variety of separate laws. Many of these laws periodically have been evaluated, revised, and renewed through an omnibus, multi-year farm bill. This report discusses the "farm bill" and it's components. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8742/
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/
Food and Agricultural Imports from China
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462423/
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals
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 have required enforceable on-farm safety standards. Others that focused primarily on post-harvest food safety measures nonetheless might have led to changes in on-farm practices if the regulated sectors (handlers and processors of agricultural products) placed new demands on their suppliers in order to comply. Similar proposals are re-emerging in the 111th Congress, where food safety reform is expected to be on the agenda. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820990/
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc810226/
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals
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 have required enforceable on-farm safety standards. Others that focused primarily on post-harvest food safety measures nonetheless might have led to changes in on-farm practices if the regulated sectors (handlers and processors of agricultural products) placed new demands on their suppliers in order to comply. Similar proposals are re-emerging in the 111th Congress, where food safety reform is expected to be on the agenda. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc819825/
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals
This report discusses comprehensive food safety bills that are progressing in the 111th Congress and could affect farmers and ranchers. Interest in on-farm practices was renewed after more than 1,300 persons in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada were found to be infected with the same unusual strain of bacteria (Salmonella Saintpaul) in April-July 2008. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822228/
Food Safety Provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill
Food safety has 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 May 2008, Congress approved a new omnibus farm law (P.L. 110-234; H.R. 2419) that includes, among other provisions, several changes affecting U.S. food safety programs. Changes in the livestock title (Title XI) include subjecting catfish to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandatory inspections similar to those for red meat and poultry; creating an option for state-inspected meat and poultry plants to ship their products across state lines; and requiring meat and poultry establishments to notify USDA about potentially adulterated or misbranded products. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10748/
Food Safety Provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10747/
Hog Prices: Questions and Answers
This report discusses price changes in the pork industry. In late 1998, the lowest hog prices in decades created a crisis in the pork industry and prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Congress to take a series of actions to assist producers, including direct cash payments, and the purchase of extra pork products to reduce market supplies. The industry sought additional aid as low prices persisted into 1999. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs837/
Livestock Feed Costs: Concerns and Options
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10763/
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/
U.S. Food and Agricultural Imports: Safeguards and Selected Issues
The report provides background information in the increase of food and agricultural imports and federal oversight responsibilities. It discusses international trade considerations, import refusals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), administration, and legislative proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462366/
U.S. Food and Agricultural Imports: Safeguards and Selected Issues
The report provides background information in the increase of food and agricultural imports and federal oversight responsibilities. It discusses international trade considerations, import refusals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), administration, and legislative proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103216/
U.S.-Russia Meat and Poultry Trade Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10790/
Agricultural Biotechnology: Background and Recent Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9392/
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/