The 107th Congress is considering trade issues with implications for the U.S. agricultural sector. Trade in agricultural commodities and food products affects farm income and rural employment, and it also generates economic activity beyond the farm gate. With agricultural export sales the equivalent of one-quarter of farm income, some policymakers view U.S. efforts to develop market opportunities overseas as vital to the sector’s financial health. Decisions taken by the Bush Administration, and actions taken by Congress, thus will affect the outlook for agricultural trade.
This report discusses the reauthorization of major farm income and commodity price support programs that expire after crop year 2002. Many agricultural interests expect that a new “counter-cyclical assistance” program will be an integral component of future farm policy. The intent of counter-cyclical assistance is to provide more government support when farm prices and/or incomes decline, and less support when they improve.
A variety of animal agriculture issues, including prices, the impact of consolidation in the meat production/packing industry, trade, and the environmental impacts of large feedlots, continue to generate interest in Congress. This issue brief discusses these issues, as well as the 2002 farm bill, which contains several provisions affecting animal agriculture, including protections for contract growers, disaster assistance, country-of-origin labeling, and increased funding for conservation purposes.
Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress considers each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture.