Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

ABOUT BROWSE FEED

The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress

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 the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), and community safety concerns.
Date: December 14, 2009
Creator: Shea, Dana A.; Monke, Jim & Gottron, Frank
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: This report is organized in three parts. First, it discusses the extent of 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.
Date: November 9, 2009
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

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.
Date: August 6, 2009
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: This report is organized in three parts. First, it discusses the extent of 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. Finally, the report describes legislative action within the ongoing climate change debate as well as enacted changes in the 2008 farm bill (Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, P.L. 110-246) that could expand the scope of existing farm and forestry conservation programs in ways that could more broadly encompass certain aspects of these climate change initiatives. The report concludes with a discussion of some of the types of questions that may be raised regarding the role of the U.S. agriculture sector in the broader climate change debate.
Date: July 31, 2009
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

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. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (otherwise known as the 2008 farm bill) includes authorization and funding for crop disaster programs, livestock assistance programs, and a tree assistance program. The new programs are designed to address the ad hoc nature of disaster assistance provided to producers during the last two decades.
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Chite, Ralph M. & Shields, Dennis A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: The debate in Congress over whether and how to address possible future climate change is intensifying. Often, the role of the U.S. agriculture sector is invoked in this debate. Agriculture is a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which many scientists agree are contributing to observed climate change. Congress is considering a range of climate change policy options, including GHG emission reduction programs that would either mandate or authorize a cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions. This report discusses this issue in detail, i.e., how the agricultural industry affects GHG emissions and efforts currently underway to combat these negative effects, but it does not address the potential effects of global climate change on U.S. agricultural production.
Date: June 19, 2009
Creator: Johnson, Renée
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Estimates of Carbon Mitigation Potential from Agricultural and Forestry Activities

Description: Numerous theoretical and empirical studies estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of farm and forestry activities, and suggest that the potential for carbon uptake in agricultural soils and forest lands is much greater than current rates. Following a discussion of the estimated current emissions and carbon sequestration by the agricultural and forestry sectors, this report presents a brief overview of the available estimates from USDA and EPA carbon mitigation studies, and then discusses some of the limitations of the available data and modeling results. This report is organized into four parts, including a brief overview of the agriculture and forestry sectors within the broader climate change debate, as well as various data and information on potential for carbon storage and mitigation from farming and forestry activities.
Date: June 19, 2009
Creator: Johnson, Renée; Gorte, Ross W.; Yacobucci, Brent D. & Schnepf, Randy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agriculture in Pending U.S. Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea

Description: The 111th Congress in coming months might take up free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by the Bush Administration with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea under trade promotion authority, or fast-track rules, designed to expedite congressional consideration of these agreements. Accordingly, agriculture as covered in each pending trade agreement is examined in this report in the order that Congress likely will take up these agreements, based upon statements made to date by Obama Administration officials and Members of Congress.
Date: June 3, 2009
Creator: Jurenas, Remy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

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.
Date: May 28, 2009
Creator: Redhead, Stephen C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals

Description: This report discusses bills introduced into the 110th Congress pertaining to food safety that could affect farmers and ranchers. Several of these bills would expressly have required enforceable on-farm safety standards. Others that focused primarily on post-harvest food safety measures nonetheless might have led to changes in on-farm practices if the regulated sectors (handlers and processors of agricultural products) placed new demands on their suppliers in order to comply. Similar proposals are re-emerging in the 111th Congress, where food safety reform is expected to be on the agenda.
Date: March 19, 2009
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

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.
Date: February 23, 2009
Creator: Monke, Jim; Richardson, Joe; Stubbs, Megan; Cowan, Tadlock; Chite, Ralph M.; Becker, Geoffrey S. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Farm Income

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.
Date: February 13, 2009
Creator: Schnepf, Randy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues

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.
Date: February 11, 2009
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Cowan, Tadlock
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement

Description: This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, intended to produce air quality monitoring data on animal agriculture emissions from a small number of farms, while at the same time protecting all participants (including farms where no monitoring takes place) through a “safe harbor” from liability under certain provisions of federal environmental laws.
Date: January 21, 2009
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Animal Waste and Hazardous Substances: Current Laws and Legislative Issues

Description: This report describes the provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, the Superfund law) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), and enforcement actions under these laws that have increasingly been receiving attention. Congressional scrutiny in the form of legislative proposals and two House hearings are discussed. Bills intended to exempt animal manure from the requirements of Superfund and EPCRA were introduced in the 109th Congress. Similar bills were introduced in the 110th Congress (H.R. 1398 and S. 807), but no legislation has been enacted. Issues raised by the legislation are analyzed.
Date: January 21, 2009
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals

Description: This report discusses bills introduced into the 110th Congress pertaining to food safety that could affect farmers and ranchers. Several of these bills would expressly have required enforceable on-farm safety standards. Others that focused primarily on post-harvest food safety measures nonetheless might have led to changes in on-farm practices if the regulated sectors (handlers and processors of agricultural products) placed new demands on their suppliers in order to comply. Similar proposals are re-emerging in the 111th Congress, where food safety reform is expected to be on the agenda.
Date: December 19, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress

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 the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), and community safety concerns.
Date: November 25, 2008
Creator: Shea, Dana A.; Monke, Jim & Gottron, Frank
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Temporary Farm Labor: The H-2A Program and the U.S. Department of Labor's Proposed Changes in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR)

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.
Date: November 6, 2008
Creator: Mayer, Gerald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Farm Promotion ("Check-off") Programs

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.
Date: October 20, 2008
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Measuring and Monitoring Carbon in the Agricultural and Forestry Sectors

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.
Date: October 6, 2008
Creator: Gorte, Ross W. & Johnson, Renée
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The 2008 Farm Bill: Major Provisions and Legislative Action

Description: The report discusses the 2008 farm bill (H.R. 2419), covering a wide range of programs including The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, farm credit, agricultural conservation, research, rural development, and foreign and domestic food programs, among others.
Date: October 3, 2008
Creator: Johnson, Renée; Becker, Geoffrey S.; Capehart, Tom; Chite, Ralph M.; Cowan, Tadlock; Gorte, Ross W. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department