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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer

The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer

Date: February 7, 2007
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Porter, Donna V.
Description: 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. Nevertheless, critics view this system as lacking the organization and resources to adequately combat foodborne illness, which sickens an estimated 76 million people and kills an estimated 5,000 each year in this country. The 110th Congress may face calls for a review of federal food safety agencies and authorities, and proposals for reorganizing them. Among the issues likely to arise are whether reform can improve oversight, and the cost to industry, consumers, and taxpayers. This report provides a brief introduction to the system and the debate on whether reorganization is needed.
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U.S.-Canada Wheat Trade Dispute

U.S.-Canada Wheat Trade Dispute

Date: April 19, 2006
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Description: This report provides background for understanding the U.S. and Canadian wheat trade dispute, as well as timelines, rulings, and other details for the International Trade Commission (ITC) and World Trade Organization (WTO) cases brought by the United States against Canadian wheat trading practices and the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB).
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Agriculture in the WTO: Limits on Domestic Support

Agriculture in the WTO: Limits on Domestic Support

Date: December 4, 2012
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Description: A potential major constraint affecting U.S. agricultural policy choices is the set of commitments made as part of membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its various agreements governing agriculture and trade, including dispute settlement. This report provides a brief overview of the WTO commitments most relevant for U.S. domestic farm policy. A key question that policymakers ask of virtually every new farm proposal is, how will it affect U.S. commitments under the WTO?
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Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness

Agroterrorism: Threats and Preparedness

Date: March 12, 2007
Creator: Monke, Jim
Description: The potential of terrorist attacks against agricultural targets (agroterrorism) is increasingly recognized as a national security threat, especially after the events of September 11, 2001. This report focuses primarily on biological weapons (rather than chemical weapons) because biological weapons generally are considered the more potent agroterrorism threat. This report also focuses more on the threat of agroterrorism against agricultural production, rather than on food processing and distribution, although the latter is discussed.
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Irrigation in U.S. Agriculture: On-Farm Technologies and Best Management Practices

Irrigation in U.S. Agriculture: On-Farm Technologies and Best Management Practices

Date: September 10, 2015
Creator: Stubbs, Megan
Description: This report is intended to provide an overview of on-farm irrigation and does not cover storage and conveyance prior to the farm or how irrigation adoption may alter other farm practices, such as the use of fertilizers and pesticides or impacts off-farm (e.g., groundwater and surface water quality concerns).
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Conservation Compliance and U.S. Farm Policy

Conservation Compliance and U.S. Farm Policy

Date: June 9, 2014
Creator: Stubbs, Megan
Description: 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).
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Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2016 Appropriations

Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2016 Appropriations

Date: October 21, 2015
Creator: Monke, Jim
Description: This report discusses the Agriculture appropriations bill for FY 2016, which funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) -- except for the Forest Service -- as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and, in even-numbered fiscal years, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
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U.S. Agricultural Trade with Cuba: Current Limitations and Future Prospects

U.S. Agricultural Trade with Cuba: Current Limitations and Future Prospects

Date: October 1, 2015
Creator: McMinimy, Mark A.
Description: This report reviews the current state of agricultural trade between the United States and Cuba, identifies key impediments to expanding bilateral trade in agricultural products and key provisions in the law to which these obstacles are anchored. It also summarizes several of the bills introduced in the 114th Congress that propose to remove specific restrictions that impede trade in agricultural goods or that seek to lift the embargo on Cuba entirely.
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Agriculture, Nutrition, and Rural Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Rural Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009

Date: February 23, 2009
Creator: Monke, Jim; Richardson, Joe; Stubbs, Megan; Cowan, Tadlock; Chite, Ralph M.; Becker, Geoffrey S. et al.
Description: 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.
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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.
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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.
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California Agricultural Production and Irrigated Water Use

California Agricultural Production and Irrigated Water Use

Date: June 30, 2015
Creator: Johnson, Renée & Cody, Betsy A.
Description: This report provides an overview of California's farm economy, specifically examining the current state of the water supply and the use of irrigation water.
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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.
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FY2016 Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriations: In Brief

FY2016 Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriations: In Brief

Date: July 20, 2015
Creator: Monke, Jim
Description: This report discusses the Agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016, which funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) -- except for the Forest Service -- as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and, in even-numbered fiscal years, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Agriculture appropriations include both mandatory and discretionary spending, however, mandatory amounts are general set by other authorizing laws (such as the farm bill).
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U.S. Farm Income

U.S. Farm Income

Date: February 13, 2009
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Description: This report discusses the aggregate national net farm income and the farm debt-to-asset status as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It includes an overview of income and expenses for calendar year 2009, income projections through 2018, the average farm household income, and information about farm asset values and debt.
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Update on the Highly-Pathogenic Avian Influenza Outbreak of 2014-2015

Update on the Highly-Pathogenic Avian Influenza Outbreak of 2014-2015

Date: July 20, 2015
Creator: Greene, Joel L.
Description: This report discusses selected issues regarding the severe outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) currently affecting poultry in the U.S.
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U.S. Agricultural Trade with Cuba: Current Limitations and Future Prospects

U.S. Agricultural Trade with Cuba: Current Limitations and Future Prospects

Date: July 23, 2015
Creator: McMinimy, Mark A.
Description: This report reviews the current state of agricultural trade between the United States and Cuba. It identifies key impediments to expanding bilateral trade in agricultural products and key provisions in the law to which these obstacles are anchored, and also considers the potential consequences for trade in agricultural goods if bilateral trade were returned to a more normal footing. It also summarizes several of the bills introduced in the 114th Congress that propose to remove specific restrictions that impede trade in agricultural goods or that seek to lift the embargo on Cuba entirely.
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Farm Safety Net Programs: Background and Issues

Farm Safety Net Programs: Background and Issues

Date: August 21, 2015
Creator: Shields, Dennis A.
Description: This report discusses several programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that supplement the income of farmers and ranchers in times of low farm prices and natural disasters. Federal crop insurance, farm programs, and disaster assistance are collectively called the farm safety net.
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FDA Tobacco Regulation: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009

FDA Tobacco Regulation: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009

Date: May 28, 2009
Creator: Redhead, Stephen C.
Description: This report focuses on the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. It includes a brief discussion of the contrasting views of FDA tobacco regulation held by the public health community and the industry, and provides some analysis of a number of key regulatory issues that the bill raises.
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Farm Bill Legislative Action in the 110th Congress

Farm Bill Legislative Action in the 110th Congress

Date: June 13, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée; Richardson, Joe; Marples, Donald J. & Jickling, Mark
Description: This report discuses the periodic omnibus farm bill, which is renewed about every five years, and governs federal farm and food policy. The report contains congressional actions and a summary of the conference agreement provisions.
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Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling

Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling

Date: June 11, 2015
Creator: Greene, Joel L.
Description: 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.
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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations

Date: August 6, 2009
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report provides an overview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) budget and operations. The ATF is the lead federal law enforcement agency charged with administering and enforcing federal laws related to the manufacture, importation, and distribution of firearms and explosives.
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2014 Farm Bill Provisions and WTO Compliance

2014 Farm Bill Provisions and WTO Compliance

Date: April 22, 2015
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Description: This report briefly describes the relevant World Trade Organization (WTO) rules governing domestic support programs under the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM). The report then reviews the current U.S. farm safety net programs in light of their potential for compliance with the AoA and SCM and their potential to affect the success of the current Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations.
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Brazil's WTO Case Against the U.S. Cotton Program

Brazil's WTO Case Against the U.S. Cotton Program

Date: January 4, 2010
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Description: This report provides a description and status report on Brazil's challenge to certain aspects of the U.S. cotton program under the rules of the World Trade Organization's (WTO's) dispute settlement process in case DS267. The "Brazil cotton case" had its WTO origins in 2002 and has since evolved into a sprawling legal enterprise that is still ongoing as of mid-2010.
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