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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

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

Midwest Floods of 2008: Potential Impact on Agriculture

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

Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals

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

Midwest Floods of 2008: Potential Impact on Agriculture

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

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

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

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

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

U.S.-Russia Meat and Poultry Trade Issues

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

Sugar Policy and the 2008 Farm Bill

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

Livestock Feed Costs: Concerns and Options

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

Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues

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

What Is the “Farm Bill”?

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

Food and Agricultural Imports from China

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

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

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

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

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

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

Date: September 30, 2008
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, intended to produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
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The 2008 Farm Bill: Major Provisions and Legislative Action

The 2008 Farm Bill: Major Provisions and Legislative Action

Date: October 3, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée; Becker, Geoffrey S.; Capehart, Tom; Chite, Ralph M.; Cowan, Tadlock; Gorte, Ross W. et al.
Description: The report discusses the 2008 farm bill (H.R. 2419), covering a wide range of programs including The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, farm credit, agricultural conservation, research, rural development, and foreign and domestic food programs, among others.
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Measuring and Monitoring Carbon in the Agricultural and Forestry Sectors

Measuring and Monitoring Carbon in the Agricultural and Forestry Sectors

Date: October 6, 2008
Creator: Gorte, Ross W. & Johnson, Renée
Description: 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.
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Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-off") Programs

Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-off") Programs

Date: October 20, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: 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.
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Temporary Farm Labor: The H-2A Program and the U.S. Department of Labor's Proposed Changes in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR)

Temporary Farm Labor: The H-2A Program and the U.S. Department of Labor's Proposed Changes in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR)

Date: November 6, 2008
Creator: Mayer, Gerald
Description: This report begins with a description of the H-2A program. Next, the report explains how the AEWR is currently determined and how it would be calculated under the proposed regulations. Finally, the report examines some potential effects of the proposed change in the AEWR on the wages and employment of foreign and U.S. workers on U.S. farms.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress

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

Date: November 25, 2008
Creator: Shea, Dana A.; Monke, Jim & Gottron, Frank
Description: This report outlines current progress towards establishment of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), presents current and projected funding levels and timelines, and describes policy issues of potential interest to Congress, such as agency coordination, possession of viruses, construction timelines, disposition of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), and community safety concerns.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals

Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals

Date: December 19, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: This report discusses bills introduced into the 110th Congress pertaining to food safety that could affect farmers and ranchers. Several of these bills would expressly 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement

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

Date: January 21, 2009
Creator: unknown
Description: This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, intended to produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Animal Waste and Hazardous Substances: Current Laws and Legislative Issues

Animal Waste and Hazardous Substances: Current Laws and Legislative Issues

Date: January 21, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Description: 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.
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Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues

Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues

Date: February 11, 2009
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Cowan, Tadlock
Description: This report describes several scientifically emerging animal biotechnologies that are raising a variety of questions concerning risks to humans, animals, and the environment, as well as ethical concerns. The report examines applications of the technologies and discusses major issues that may arise.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department