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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Food Safety Provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill

Food Safety Provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill

Date: May 27, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: 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.
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Food Safety Provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill

Food Safety Provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill

Date: July 1, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: 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.
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Hog Prices: Questions and Answers

Hog Prices: Questions and Answers

Date: December 15, 1999
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: 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.
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Livestock Feed Costs: Concerns and Options

Livestock Feed Costs: Concerns and Options

Date: June 30, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: 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.
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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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U.S. Food and Agricultural Imports: Safeguards and Selected Issues

U.S. Food and Agricultural Imports: Safeguards and Selected Issues

Date: June 12, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: 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.
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U.S. Food and Agricultural Imports: Safeguards and Selected Issues

U.S. Food and Agricultural Imports: Safeguards and Selected Issues

Date: April 16, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: 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.
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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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Agricultural Biotechnology: Background and Recent Issues

Agricultural Biotechnology: Background and Recent Issues

Date: September 5, 2006
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Cowan, Tadlock
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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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.
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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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Animal Agriculture: 2008 Farm Bill Issues

Animal Agriculture: 2008 Farm Bill Issues

Date: July 1, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Johnson, Renée
Description: This report discusses a number of animal-related provisions related to the 2008 farm bill. It includes background and specific provisions from the bill for each of the issues and options analyzed in the report: market competition and packer concentration, livestock mandatory price reporting, meat and poultry safety, country-of-origin labeling, animal identification for health protection, animal welfare, feed prices, disaster assistance, and environmental issues. The report also provides a summary comparison of previous farm bills with the 2008 provisions for selected issues.
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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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The 2002 Farm Bill: Overview and Status

The 2002 Farm Bill: Overview and Status

Date: September 3, 2002
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Womach, Jasper
Description: This report discusses the provisions of the 1996 farm bill, which was due to expire in 2002 but was extended for an additional 6 years on May 13, 2002 by President Bush (P.L. 107-171). The new law is called the "Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA) of 2002. The new law generally supersedes the previous omnibus farm bill, the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform (FAIR) Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-127). The new farm law has attracted widespread criticism both in the U.S. and abroad. This report discusses these criticisms as well as the defenses of the law's proponents.
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The 2002 Farm Bill: Overview and Status

The 2002 Farm Bill: Overview and Status

Date: May 3, 2002
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Womach, Jasper
Description: The Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform, or FAIR, Act of 1996 (commonly known as the "farm bill"), which was due to expire in 2002, is expected to be extended for another six years when President Bush signs the bill into law. This report discusses the provisions of the new "farm bill," including the federal spending involved.
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The 2002 Farm Bill: Overview and Status

The 2002 Farm Bill: Overview and Status

Date: June 3, 2002
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Womach, Jasper
Description: This report discusses the provisions of the 1996 farm bill, which was due to expire in 2002 but was extended (P.L. 107-171) for an additional 6 years on May 13, 2002.
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The 2002 Farm Bill: Overview and Status

The 2002 Farm Bill: Overview and Status

Date: July 3, 2002
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Womach, Jasper
Description: The Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform, or FAIR, Act of 1996 (commonly known as the "farm bill"), which was due to expire in 2002, is expected to be extended for another six years when President Bush signs the bill into law. This report discusses the provisions of the new "farm bill," including the federal spending involved.
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Agricultural Trade in the 106th Congress: A Review of Issues

Agricultural Trade in the 106th Congress: A Review of Issues

Date: December 29, 2000
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.; Hanrahan, Charles E. & Jurenas, Remy
Description: The 106th Congress considered a number of trade policy developments against a backdrop of weak foreign demand and large world supplies of agricultural commodities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the value of U.S. agricultural exports fell between FY1996 (a record year) and FY1999 by almost $11 billion, to $49.2 billion. Agricultural exports did climb back to $50.9 billion in FY2000, and are now projected at $53 billion in FY2001. However, the pace of recovery concerned many agricultural groups and their supporters in Congress. Although they recognize that many world economic, farm production, political, and weather factors influence exports, many of these groups believe that the agricultural sector's future prosperity also depends upon such U.S. trade policies as: 1) encouraging China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its binding rules and responsibilities; 2) exempting agricultural exports from U.S. unilateral economic sanctions; 3) fully using export and food aid programs; and 4) aggressively battling foreign-imposed barriers to the movement of U.S. farm products. A few U.S. farm groups are wary of such approaches.
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Agricultural Trade Issues in the 106th Congress

Agricultural Trade Issues in the 106th Congress

Date: November 27, 2000
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.; Hanrahan, Charles E. & Jurenas, Remy
Description: Agricultural interests have been following trade policy developments against a backdrop of weak foreign demand and large world supplies of agricultural products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the value of U.S. agricultural exports fell between FY1996 (a record year) and FY1999 by almost $11 billion. USDA forecasts agricultural exports at $50.5 billion in FY2000 and $51.5 billion in FY2001. However, the projected agricultural trade surpluses for those years, of $11.5 billion and $12 billion, would be less than half the FY1996 surplus of $27.2 billion. Many agricultural groups and their supporters in Congress believe that the sector's future prosperity depends upon such U.S. trade policies as: 1) encouraging China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its binding rules and responsibilities; 2) exempting agriculture from U.S. unilateral economic sanctions; 3) fully using export and food aid programs; and 4) aggressively battling foreign-imposed barriers to the movement of U.S. farm products. A few U.S. farm groups are wary of such approaches.
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Is Biopower Carbon Neutral?

Is Biopower Carbon Neutral?

Date: March 24, 2011
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi
Description: This report discusses some of the most relevant factors to take into account when considering whether or not biopower is carbon neutral. It does not discuss carbon accounting for other bioenergy pathways.
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Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress

Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress

Date: January 6, 2011
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi & Gorte, Ross W.
Description: 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.
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Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress

Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress

Date: October 28, 2010
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi & Gorte, Ross W.
Description: 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.
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Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress

Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress

Date: March 7, 2012
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi & Gorte, Ross W.
Description: The use of biomass as an energy feedstock 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, crop residues, wood waste and byproducts, and animal manure. Most legislation involving biomass has focused on encouraging the production of liquid fuels from corn. For over 30 years, the term biomass has been a part of legislation enacted by Congress for various programs, indicating some interest by the general public and policymakers in expanding its use. To aid understanding of why U.S. consumers, utility groups, refinery managers, and others have not fully adopted biomass as an energy resource, this report investigates the characterization of biomass in legislation.
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Fruits and Vegetables: Issues for Congress

Fruits and Vegetables: Issues for Congress

Date: April 15, 2002
Creator: Branaman, Brenda
Description: None
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