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 projected agricultural imports and exports for FY2003, as well as legislation that deals with federal programs in support of agricultural exports and federal aid dedicated to farms and agricultural reform.
Several dairy issues that were debated during the 108th Congress are expected to continue as issues of interest in the 109th Congress. Separate bills were introduced in the 108th Congress to extend authority for both the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Program and the dairy forward pricing pilot program, and to address dairy producer concerns about the importation of milk protein concentrates.
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.
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.
Falling agricultural exports and declining commodity prices led farm groups and agribusiness firms to urge the 106th Congress to pass legislation exempting foods and agricultural commodities from U.S. economic sanctions against certain countries. In completing action on the FY2001 agriculture appropriations bill, Congress codified the lifting of unilateral sanctions on commercial sales of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical products to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Sudan, and extended this policy to apply to Cuba (Title IX of H.R. 5426, as enacted by P.L. 106-387; Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000). Related provisions place financing and licensing conditions on sales to these countries. Those that apply to Cuba, though, are permanent and more restrictive than for the other countries. Other provisions give Congress the authority in the future to veto a President's proposal to impose a sanction on the sale of agricultural or medical products.
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