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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Year: 2008
 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.
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Brazil's WTO Case Against the U.S. Cotton Program: A Brief Overview

Brazil's WTO Case Against the U.S. Cotton Program: A Brief Overview

Date: June 17, 2008
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Description: On June 2, 2008, a World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body (AB) publicly released its final report upholding a December 2007 compliance panel ruling that the United States has not fully complied with a March 2005 WTO ruling against certain U.S. cotton support programs. This AB ruling was part of a prolonged dispute settlement case (DS267) originated by Brazil against certain aspects of the U.S. cotton program in September 2002. This report provides a brief overview of Brazil's case against the U.S. cotton program, the evolution and current status of the case, and the potential role for Congress.
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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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International Food Aid Provisions

International Food Aid Provisions

Date: June 20, 2008
Creator: Hanrahan, Charles E.
Description: Provision of U.S. agricultural commodities for emergency relief and economic development is the United States' major response to food security problems in developing countries. Title III in the omnibus farm bill enacted in June 2008, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, reauthorizes and makes a number of changes in U.S. international food aid programs. Farm bill debate over U.S. food aid programs focused generally on how to make delivery of food aid more efficient and more effective. This report explores this and related legislation, as well as the areas of this ongoing and international issue that are continually debated.
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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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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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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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Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector

Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector

Date: June 20, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Description: This report is organized in three parts. First, it discusses the extent of greenhouse gas (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.
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The FY2009 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture

The FY2009 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Date: March 17, 2008
Creator: Monke, Jim
Description: The report discusses the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) budget request for FY2009. The request includes a $76 billion in mandatory funds for food stamps, child nutrition, and farm subsidies.
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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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Dairy Policy and the 2008 Farm Bill

Dairy Policy and the 2008 Farm Bill

Date: June 13, 2008
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Description: This report discusses the impact of the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-234, The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act) on the U.S. dairy industry. It includes an overview of provisions and issues that result from the bill and looks specifically at the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program, the dairy price support program, federal milk marketing orders, and dairy import assessment. There is also some analysis of the implications regarding World Trade Organization (WTO) limitations. An appendix provides a comparison of the 2008 provisions and those from previous legislation.
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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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Comparison of the 2008 Farm Bill Conference Agreement with the House and Senate Farm Bills

Comparison of the 2008 Farm Bill Conference Agreement with the House and Senate Farm Bills

Date: June 19, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée; Becker, Geoffrey S.; Richardson, Joe; Marples, Donald J. & Jickling, Mark
Description: This report compares the major provisions in the House- and Senate-passed bills and the conference agreement with each other and with the 2002 law, and provides a brief description of all individual sections or subsections within each title.
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Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education: Farm Bill Issues

Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education: Farm Bill Issues

Date: June 12, 2008
Creator: Rawson, Jean M.
Description: This report discusses the farm bill (P.L. 110-234) that will authorize and direct the implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) major programs across the spectrum of its mission areas through FY2012. The enacted bill reorganizes the Department's research, extension, and economics mission area, which currently comprises four agencies that separately administer intramural and extramural programs supporting agricultural research and development (R&D).
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Agriculture Conservation Programs: A Scorecard

Agriculture Conservation Programs: A Scorecard

Date: May 9, 2008
Creator: Cowan, Tadlock & Johnson, Renée
Description: This report provides basic information on several agriculture conservation programs, primarily drawn from agency budget presentations and websites, about each program using a consistent format. This information should help respond to basic questions and resolve many common sources of confusion about the purposes of the program, program participation and policy topics.
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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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Agriculture and Forestry Provisions in Climate Change Legislation (S. 3036)

Agriculture and Forestry Provisions in Climate Change Legislation (S. 3036)

Date: June 3, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Description: This report summarizes some of the domestic agriculture and forestry provisions in the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 (S. 3036, formerly S. 2191), as ordered reported out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in December 2007.
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Specialty Crops: 2008 Farm Bill Issues

Specialty Crops: 2008 Farm Bill Issues

Date: June 19, 2008
Creator: Rawson, Jean M.
Description: This report discusses the provisions for specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops) in the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act). Specialty crops are not eligible for direct support under USDA's farm commodity price and income support programs. Federal policies on trade, conservation, credit, marketing programs, domestic food assistance, and research also all affect the specialty crop sector.
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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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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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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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Agricultural Exports and the 2007 Farm Bill

Agricultural Exports and the 2007 Farm Bill

Date: January 25, 2008
Creator: Hanrahan, Charles E.
Description: This report assesses 2007 farm bill trade title provisions for U.S. agricultural export programs.
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