Congressional Research Service Reports - 703 Matching Results

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Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity
This report discusses the various industrial uses for hemp, a variety of Cannabis sativa that is of the same plant species as marijuana. It compares hemp with marijuana and discusses global production, legal status, and recent legislative activity.
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
This report discusses concerns about food safety, the resources required to ensure food safety, and whether federal food safety laws themselves, first enacted in the early 1900s, have kept pace with the significant changes that have occurred in the food production, processing, and marketing sectors since then.
Revisiting U.S.-Mexico Sugar Agreements
This report discusses negotiations of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) with the government of Mexico regarding consideration of changes to two sugar suspension agreements made in December 2014.
Financing U.S. Agricultural Exports to Cuba
This report discusses a new policy approach toward Cuba that, in part, seeks to reduce the role of long-standing U.S. sanctions on commercial relations with Cuba while also promoting greater engagement and normal relations with the island nation.
Soil and Water Conservation Issues
This report discusses soil and water conservation, which were prominent farm policy topics in the 108th Congress as the Administration implemented provisions in the 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171). This farm bill increased spending and expanded the scope of the conservation effort by reauthorizing and amending most existing conservation programs and enacting new ones through FY2007.
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 108th Congress
This report discusses policy and legislation regarding fish and marine mammals. These animals are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas. Commercial and sport fishing are jointly managed by the federal government and individual states. Many laws and regulations guide the management of these resources by federal agencies.
The Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR)
This report introduces the adverse effect wage rate (AEWR) and the concerns out of which it grew, from the perspective of labor policy (not of immigration policy). American agricultural employers have long utilized foreign workers on a temporary basis, regarding them as an important manpower resource. Often employed at low wages and under adverse conditions, such alien workers, some argue, may compete unfairly with U.S. workers. To mitigate any "adverse effect" for the domestic workforce, a system of wage floors was developed that applies, variously, both to alien and citizen workers.
U.S. Agricultural Trade with Cuba: Current Limitations and Future Prospects
This report reviews the current state of agricultural trade between the United States and Cuba, identifies key impediments to expanding bilateral trade in agricultural products and key provisions in the law to which these obstacles are anchored. It also summarizes several of the bills introduced in the 114th Congress that propose to remove specific restrictions that impede trade in agricultural goods or that seek to lift the embargo on Cuba entirely.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA's Air Compliance Agreement
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.
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 109th Congress
Fish and marine mammals are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas; many federal laws and regulations guide their management. This report discusses a variety of laws and legislation pertaining to this issue.
Soil and Water Conservation: An Overview
This report discusses soil and water conservation topics, which are prominent in discussions of policy options for the next farm bill. Two omnibus conservation proposals have been introduced (H.R. 1551 and H.R. 1600), and many interest groups continue to offer policy recommendations ranging from general concepts to specific legislative language.
U.S. Sugar Program Fundamentals
This report discusses the U.S. sugar program, which is singular among major agricultural commodity programs in that it combines a floor price guarantee with a supply management structure that encompasses both domestic production for human use and sugar imports.
The Role of Local and Regional Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy
This report provides background information on many of the type of operations engaged in the U.S. local and regional food system. A wide range of farm businesses are involved in local foods, such as direct-to-consumer marketing, farmers' markets, farm-to-school programs, community-supported agriculture,6 community gardens, school gardens, food hubs and market aggregators, kitchen incubators, and mobile slaughter units. This report also highlights some of the available resources within existing federal programs administered by USDA and other agencies.
Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs
This report discusses projected agricultural imports and exports for FY2006, as well as legislation that deals with federal programs in support of agricultural exports and federal aid dedicated to farms and agricultural reform.
Appropriations for FY2002: U.S. Department of Agriculture and Related Agencies
This report is a guide to one of the 13 regular appropriations bills that Congress passes each year. It is designed to supplement the information provided by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture by summarizing the current legislative status of the bill, its scope, major issues, funding levels, and related legislative activity. The report also lists the key CRS staff relevant to the issues covered and related CRS products.
Payment Limits for Farm Commodity Programs: Issues and Proposals
This report provides background on payment limits related to farm commodity programs and discusses relevant legislation. The policy issue is mostly about farm size rather than the financial need of recipients, although the two may be related. Limits on commodity program payments have been imposed since 1970. The 2002 farm bill retains the former limits, adds limits for the new counter-cyclical program, and incorporates new commodities.
U.S. Farm Income Outlook for 2016
This report discusses this the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) farm income outlook and its implications. According to USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS), national net farm income--a key indicator of U.S. farm well-being--is forecast at $54.8 billion in 2016, down 3% from last year. The 2016 forecast represents the third consecutive year of decline and would be the lowest since 2002 in both nominal and inflation-adjusted dollars.
Dairy Policy Issues
This report discusses several dairy issues that have been or are being considered by the 109th Congress, some of which affect the three major federal dairy policy tools -- the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program, federal milk marketing orders, and the dairy price support program.
The World Trade Organization: The Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) Negotiations
This report looks at the evolution of the Doha Round World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, possible effects of the Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) agreement, and major negotiating issues from a U.S. standpoint. NAMA refers to the cutting of tariff and non-tariff barriers (NTB) on industrial and primary products, basically all trade in goods which are not foodstuffs.
U.S.-Russia Meat and Poultry Trade Issues
In December 2008, the United States and Russia signed a protocol aimed at resolving various emerging trade issues between the two countries in order to continue U.S. livestock and poultry exports to Russia through the end of 2009. This report examines the current trade relationship between the U.S. and Russia in regards to meat and poultry.
Agricultural Credit: Institutions and Issues
The federal government has a long history of providing credit assistance to farmers by issuing direct loans and guarantees, and creating rural lending institutions. These institutions include the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which makes or guarantees loans to farmers who cannot qualify at other lenders, and the Farm Credit System (FCS), which is a network of borrower-owned lending institutions operating as a government-sponsored enterprise. This report discusses legislation regarding this credit assistance expected in the the 110th Congress. Appropriators will consider funding for FSA’s farm loan programs, and the agriculture committees may consider changes to FSA and FCS lending programs. The 2007 farm bill is expected to be the venue for many of the authorizing issues, although stand-alone legislation may be used for extensive reforms.
Animal Waste and Hazardous Substances: Current Laws and Legislative Issues
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.
A New Farm Program Option: Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE)
Farm commodity programs over the decades have focused on protecting farmers against declines in farm prices and not declines in revenue (price times production). Traditional programs for field crops provide benefits to producers when farm prices drop below specified levels. This report discusses the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program which Congress included in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246) as a revenue based program option for farmers who enroll in traditional farm commodity programs. Unlike revenue protection provided by some crop insurance products, ACRE is designed to protect against losses from multi-year price declines.
Agriculture in the WTO: Limits on Domestic Support
A potential major constraint affecting U.S. agricultural policy choices is the set of commitments made as part of membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its various agreements governing agriculture and trade, including dispute settlement. This report provides a brief overview of the WTO commitments most relevant for U.S. domestic farm policy. A key question that policymakers ask of virtually every new farm proposal is, how will it affect U.S. commitments under the WTO?
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
This report discusses a plan announced by EPA in January 2005, called the Air Compliance Agreement, that would 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.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
From an environmental quality standpoint, much of the interest in animal agriculture has focused on impacts on water resources, because animal waste, if not properly managed, can harm water quality through surface runoff, direct discharges, spills, and leaching into soil and groundwater. A more recent issue is the contribution of emissions from animal feeding operations (AFO), enterprises where animals are raised in confinement, to air pollution. AFOs can affect air quality through emissions of gases such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants, and odor. These pollutants and compounds have a number of environmental and human health effects. This report reviews key issues associated with the Air Compliance Agreement.
Air Quality Issues and Animal Agriculture: EPA’s Air Compliance Agreement
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.
Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector and Congressional Action
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.
Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector
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.
Environmental Regulation and Agriculture
This report provides the background, status, and issues related to selected environmental regulations or initiatives possibly affecting agriculture that have drawn attention in and beyond Congress.
What Is the Farm Bill?
This report discusses the farm bill, which is an omnibus, multi-year piece of authorizing legislation that governs an array of agricultural and food programs.
Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2013 Appropriations
This report discusses the Agriculture appropriations bill—formally known as the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which provides funding for the following agencies: the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Farm Safety Net Programs: Background and Issues
This report discusses several programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that supplement the income of farmers and ranchers in times of low farm prices and natural disasters. Federal crop insurance, farm programs, and disaster assistance are collectively called the farm safety net.
Methyl Bromide and Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
This report discusses Methyl Bromide (MeBr), a widely used pesticide in agriculture, is regulated for its potential ozone-depleting effects in the Earth’s stratosphere.
WTO Doha Round: Implications for U.S. Agriculture
The Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations began in November 2001. From an agricultural viewpoint, the goal of the negotiations was to make progress simultaneously across the three pillars of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Agricultural Agreement—domestic support, market access, and export competition—by building on the specific terms and conditions established during the previous Uruguay Round of negotiations. This report reviews the current status of agricultural negotiations for domestic support, market access, and export subsidies, and their potential implications for U.S. agriculture.
The 2002 Farm Bill: Overview and Status
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.
Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2010 Appropriations
This report discusses various policy aspects of the Agriculture appropriations bill for FY2010, which funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), except for the Forest Service.
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals
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.
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals
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.
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals
This report discusses comprehensive food safety bills that are progressing in the 111th Congress and could affect farmers and ranchers. Interest in on-farm practices was renewed after more than 1,300 persons in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada were found to be infected with the same unusual strain of bacteria (Salmonella Saintpaul) in April-July 2008.
The U.S. Trade Situation for Fruit and Vegetable Products
This report presents recent trends in U.S. fruit and vegetable trade, and highlights some of the factors contributing to these trends. This summary excludes trade data for tree nuts and processed tree nut products. Although not presented here, U.S. exports and imports of tree nuts and processed tree nut products (excluding peanuts) have shown continued increases, with a growing trade surplus of $1.8 billion in 2006.
Conservation and the 2007 Farm Bill
This report introduces some of the issues that are influencing the development of a conservation title. It then reviews the contents of the House-passed bill, H.R. 2419. Some alternative proposals that the House considered are summarized in an appendix. The House-passed bill includes some elements of the alternative proposals (usually in modified form). This report is limited to the conservation title. However, conservation topics in recent farm bills have been increasingly addressed in other titles, and that trend continues with the House-passed version, which contains conservation provisions in the energy, forestry, and research titles, and others as well.
The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer
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.
Agricultural Issues in the 109th Congress
This report discusses a number of issues affecting U.S. agriculture have been or are being addressed by the 109th Congress. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-171), enacted in February 2006, included a net reduction in spending on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandatory programs of $2.7 billion over five years, and the reauthorization of a dairy income support program. Other issues of importance to agriculture during the second session of the 109th Congress include the consideration of emergency farm disaster assistance; multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations; concerns about agroterrorism, food safety, and animal and plant diseases (e.g., “mad cow” disease and avian flu); high energy costs; environmental issues; agricultural marketing matters; the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and farm labor issues.
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 109th Congress
Fish and marine mammals are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas; many federal laws and regulations guide their management. This report discusses a variety of laws and legislation pertaining to this issue.
Farm Bill Legislative Action in the 110th Congress
This report discuses the periodic omnibus farm bill, which is renewed about every five years, and governs federal farm and food policy. The report contains congressional actions and a summary of the conference agreement provisions.
Environmental Regulation and Agriculture
This report discusses the impact of environmental regulation on agriculture. Most environmental regulations, in terms of permitting, inspection, and enforcement, are implemented by state and local governments, often based on federal EPA regulatory guidance. In some cases, agriculture is the direct or primary focus of the regulatory actions. In other cases, agriculture is one of many affected sectors. Traditionally, farm and ranch operations have been exempt or excluded from many environmental regulations.
What Is the “Farm Bill”?
This report discusses the farm bill, which renewed about every five years, governs federal farm and food policy.
What Is the “Farm Bill”?
This report discusses the farm bill, which renewed about every five years, governs federal farm and food policy.
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Selected Proposals
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 require enforceable on-farm safety standards.