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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 109th Congress
Fish and marine mammals are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas; many federal laws and regulations guide their management. This report discusses a variety of laws and legislation pertaining to this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8264/
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/
Implementing International Agreements on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act
The focus of this report is on proposed amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This report does not constitute a legal analysis of the bills or of existing law. Instead, it begins by describing the three international agreements and relevant provisions of TSCA. The report then summarizes selected provisions of H.R. 4591 and H.R. 4800, as introduced, and compares them in a brief narrative and more detailed table. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9168/
Implementing the Conservation Security Program
This report discusses the Conservation Security Program (CSP), which is a agricultural conservation program created in the 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171, §2001). It provides incentives for farmers to pursue conservation and helps pay for conservation practices. Unlike some other NRCS programs, it pays for conservation on land that remains in production and makes eligible a wide range of farm lands (cropland, pastureland, rangeland, grassland, prairie land, tribal lands, and forested lands incidental to an agricultural operation) digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9095/
Grazing Fees and Rangeland Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM, Department of the Interior) and the Forest Service (Department of Agriculture) manage approximately 70% of the 650 million acres of land owned by the federal government and many of these lands are classified as rangeland. Both agencies have well-established programs permitting private livestock grazing. The Administration issued new, controversial BLM rangeland management rules effective in August 1995. Supporters contended that the Administration's new rules were a step forward in sound resource management, but some believed they did not go far enough to protect rangelands and riparian areas. Many in the ranching community opposed the new rules, believing that they would ultimately reduce private livestock activity on federal lands, and increase operating costs. This report examines the debate over federal grazing management. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs519/
The FY2007 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
This report discusses the FY2007 budget request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) includes $96.4 billion in budget authority. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8487/
Conservation Compliance and U.S. Farm Policy
This report discusses various provisions designed to reduce production and conserve soil and water resources. Many of the provisions remain in effect today, including the two compliance provisions--highly erodible land conservation (sodbuster) and wetland conservation (swampbuster). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795580/
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Rural Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009
This report analyzes the agriculture, nutrition, and rural provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5). The ARRA boosts government spending on various infrastructure programs and government benefits programs, and offers individual and business tax benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795420/
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/
Grain Transport: Modal Trends and Infrastructure Implications
This report examines the grain-handling system and the infrastructure that supports it. The first part of the report briefly identifies transportation funding issues before Congress that are particularly relevant to grain shippers. The report then describes how grain is delivered to market, including long-term trends taking place and the underlying reasons for those trends. The final part identifies some of the implications these trends have for targeting future investment in the grain-handling system. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9124/
Immigration of Agricultural Guest Workers: Policy, Trends, and Legislative Issues
This report discusses the revision of U.S. immigration policy on agricultural guest workers that are coming from various perspectives, and several major bills have already been introduced in the 107th Congress digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1382/
Immigration of Agricultural Guest Workers: Policy, Trends, and Legislative Issues
This report discusses the revision of U.S. immigration policy on agricultural guest workers that are coming from various perspectives, and several major bills have already been introduced in the 107th Congress digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1381/
Immigration of Agricultural Guest Workers: Policy, Trends, and Legislative Issues
This report discusses the revision of U.S. immigration policy on agricultural guest workers that are coming from various perspectives, and several major bills have already been introduced in the 107th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3731/
Legal Issues Related to Livestock Watering in Federal Grazing Districts
This report discusses proposed regulations related to livestock watering in federal grazing districts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs93/
The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy
This report provides background information on many of the type of operations engaged in the U.S. local and regional food system. A wide range of farm businesses are involved in local foods, such as direct-to-consumer marketing, farmers' markets, farm-to-school programs, community-supported agriculture,6 community gardens, school gardens, food hubs and market aggregators, kitchen incubators, and mobile slaughter units. This report also highlights some of the available resources within existing federal programs administered by USDA and other agencies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824817/
Appropriations for FY2002: U.S. Department of Agriculture and Related Agencies
This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture by summarizing the current legislative status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related legislative activity. The report also lists the key CRS staff relevant to the issues covered and related CRS products. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824665/
Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector
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. Third, the report discusses the types of questions that may be raised regarding the role of the U.S. agriculture sector in the broader climate change debate, and also discusses the role of climate-related issues (e.g., GHG emissions reductions and carbon sequestration) in the context of farm program legislation that the 110th Congress may consider. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820949/
Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821044/
Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector and Congressional Action
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. Finally, the report describes legislative action within the ongoing climate change debate as well as enacted changes in the 2008 farm bill (Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, P.L. 110-246) that could expand the scope of existing farm and forestry conservation programs in ways that could more broadly encompass certain aspects of these climate change initiatives. The report concludes with a discussion of some of the types of questions that may be raised regarding the role of the U.S. agriculture sector in the broader climate change debate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc805742/
Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc819042/
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. Although not presented here, U.S. exports and imports of tree nuts and processed tree nut products (excluding peanuts) have shown continued increases, with a growing trade surplus of $1.8 billion in 2006. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821410/
Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2010 Appropriations
This report discusses various policy aspects of the Agriculture appropriations bill for FY2010, which funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), except for the Forest Service. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821038/
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA's Air Compliance Agreement
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847537/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 109th Congress
Fish and marine mammals are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas; many federal laws and regulations guide their management. This report discusses a variety of laws and legislation pertaining to this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847711/
U.S. Sugar Program Fundamentals
This report discusses the U.S. sugar program, which is singular among major agricultural commodity programs in that it combines a floor price guarantee with a supply management structure that encompasses both domestic production for human use and sugar imports. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847613/
Animal Waste and Hazardous Substances: Current Laws and Legislative Issues
This report describes the provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, the Superfund law) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), and enforcement actions under these laws that have increasingly been receiving attention. Congressional scrutiny in the form of legislative proposals and two House hearings are discussed. Bills intended to exempt animal manure from the requirements of Superfund and EPCRA were introduced in the 109th Congress. Similar bills were introduced in the 110th Congress (H.R. 1398 and S. 807), but no legislation has been enacted. Issues raised by the legislation are analyzed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822684/
A New Farm Program Option: Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE)
Farm commodity programs over the decades have focused on protecting farmers against declines in farm prices and not declines in revenue (price times production). Traditional programs for field crops provide benefits to producers when farm prices drop below specified levels. This report discusses the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program which Congress included in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246) as a revenue based program option for farmers who enroll in traditional farm commodity programs. Unlike revenue protection provided by some crop insurance products, ACRE is designed to protect against losses from multi-year price declines. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821473/
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 108th Congress
This report discusses policy and legislation regarding fish and marine mammals. These animals are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas. Commercial and sport fishing are jointly managed by the federal government and individual states. Many laws and regulations guide the management of these resources by federal agencies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc855725/
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/
Agricultural Trade in a U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)
As part of its overall trade strategy, the Bush Administration over the last year began negotiating bilateral free trade area (FTA) agreements with four regional blocs or countries. Negotiations on a U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) involving Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua began in late January 2003 and are currently scheduled to conclude this December. While negotiators have reportedly made progress in a number of areas, efforts to formulate a framework for handling agricultural trade have been slow. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3732/
Agriculture in the U.S.-Dominican Republic Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA)
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8288/
U.S. Tobacco Production, Consumption, and Export Trends
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9640/
U.S. Tobacco Production, Consumption, and Export Trends
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9644/
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/
U.S.-EU Poultry Dispute on the Use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs)
This report highlights the dispute between the U.S. and EU over the use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs) during the processing of poultry products. PRT's are antimicrobial rinses--including chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate, and peroxyacids, among others--that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for use in poultry processing to reduce the amount of microbes on meat. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462213/
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
Numerous federal, state, and local agencies share responsibilities for regulating the safety of the U.S. food supply, which many experts say is among the safest in the world. This report discusses various food safety proposals in Congress, as well as agencies with food safety related responsibilities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491097/
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/metadc490972/
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/metadc490944/
Agriculture in the WTO: Limits on Domestic Support
This report provides a brief overview of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) commitments most relevant for U.S. domestic farm policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462865/
Food and Agriculture Provisions in the FY1997 Supplemental Appropriations Act
Report providing an overview of provisions and funding related to food and agriculture program as a part of a supplemental appropriations bill (P.L. 105-18, H.R. 1871). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs442/
U.S.-EU Poultry Dispute on the Use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs)
This report highlights the dispute between the U.S. and EU over the use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs) during the processing of poultry products. PRT's are antimicrobial rinses--including chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate, and peroxyacids, among others--that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for use in poultry processing to reduce the amount of microbes on meat. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501899/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report has two sections. The first provides an overview of the current 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/metadc501569/
Attorneys' Fees in the State Tobacco Litigation Cases
In the past few years, many states have filed complaints against the tobacco industry in state court to recover Medicaid costs paid by the states to treat their citizens for tobacco related illnesses. The states are also attempting to recover other damages, such as punitive damages, against the tobacco industry. For various reasons, the states have hired private attorneys to assist the state Attorneys General in prosecuting these cases. In most cases, the retention of private counsel has included a fee agreement specifying the amount of compensation that these attorneys will receive for their services. These agreements are not uniform among the states, but most tend to provide some form of contingency fee arrangement. Some of these states have developed a sliding scale contingency fee schedule which varies with the amount of time spent on the litigation and whether a trial has begun. This report briefly summarizes the different fee agreements that the states have with private counsel. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs377/
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/
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/
Energy Provisions of the Farm Bill: Comparison of the New Law with Previous Law and House and Senate Bills
This report provides a side-by-side comparison of the energy provisions of the new law with previously existing law, as well as the versions engrossed by the House and Senate in the 107th Congress. While the energy provisions in the House version were spread throughout the bill, the Senate version consolidated most of its energy provisions into Title IX - Energy. Both bills provided for the use of reserve land for renewable energy production. The House version also allowed for loans to farmers in response to high energy prices, while the Senate version did not. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9081/
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/
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/
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/