Congressional Research Service Reports - 54 Matching Results

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Agricultural Exports: Technical Barriers to Trade

Description: Technical barriers to trade (TBTs) are widely divergent measures that countries use to regulate rnarkets, protect their consumers, and preserve natural resources, but which can also discriminate against imports in favor of domestic products. Most TBTs in agriculture are sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures designed to protect humans, animals, and plants from contaminants, diseases, and pests. In the wake of new trade agreements aimed at reducing tariffs, import quotas, and other trade barriers, TBTs have become more prominent concerns for agricultural exporters and policymakers.
Date: October 21, 1997
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The “Farm Bill” in Brief

Description: Federal farm support, food assistance, agricultural trade, marketing, and rural development policies are governed by a variety of separate laws. Many of these laws periodically have been evaluated, revised, and renewed through an omnibus, multi-year farm bill. This report discusses the "farm bill" and it's components.
Date: October 4, 2006
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
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

Agriculture: U.S.-China Trade Issues

Description: With China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2001, U.S. agricultural interests were hopeful that longstanding barriers to trade with that vast and growing market would begin to fall. However, critics charge that China is failing to honor commitments to open its markets, affecting U.S. exports of grains, oilseeds, meat and poultry, and other products. U.S. agriculture and trade officials have been working to resolve these differences.
Date: October 16, 2002
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S. & Hanrahan, Charles E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress

Description: This report discusses the use of biomass as an energy feedstock, which is emerging as a potentially viable alternative to address U.S. energy security concerns, foreign oil dependence, rural economic development, and diminishing sources of conventional energy. Biomass (organic matter that can be converted into energy) may include food crops, crops for energy (e.g., switchgrass or prairie perennials), crop residues, wood waste and byproducts, and animal manure. This report discusses legislation regarding biomass, the evolving definition of biomass, and the positions of supporters and detractors of biomass as an alternative energy source.
Date: October 28, 2010
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi & Gorte, Ross W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 108th Congress

Description: 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.
Date: October 8, 2004
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
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 non-insured assistance program and emergency disaster loans. In recent years, Congress frequently has made supplemental financial assistance available to farmers and ranchers on an ad-hoc basis, most notably in the form of direct crop disaster payments and emergency livestock assistance. Congress provided an estimated $3.1 billion of such assistance in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-7) for 2001 and 2002 crop and livestock losses. Some farm groups would like to see similar assistance provided for 2003 losses, particularly in regions of the Midwest and West that have experienced prolonged drought conditions. To date, no ad-hoc assistance has been made available for 2003 losses.
Date: October 6, 2006
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Issues in the 109th Congress

Description: A number of issues affecting U.S. agriculture are receiving attention during the 109th Congress. The agriculture committees are required by the FY2006 budget resolution to report legislation this year that reduces spending on mandatory food and agriculture support programs by $3 billion over the next five years. Other issues of importance to agriculture during the 109th Congress include the possible reauthorization of an expiring dairy support program; 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; and a number of agricultural marketing matters. This report will be updated if significant developments ensue.
Date: October 13, 2005
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Issues in the 109th Congress

Description: 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.
Date: October 6, 2006
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
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, 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.
Date: October 11, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Changing Structure of Agriculture and Rural America: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges

Description: This report provides an overview of Contemporary Rural America. The report discusses the changes that are likely to pose important questions about the direction and coherence of current rural policy. Several significant trends in this evolving structure of agriculture are discussed in this report: (1) a continuation in the trend toward fewer and larger farms; (2) a potential acceleration of that trend as production shifts to more tightly integrated and vertically coordinated production through supply chains; (3) greater environmental pressures on conventional agricultural production practices stemming from urban and suburban interests; and (4) changing food consumption patterns.
Date: October 30, 2001
Creator: Cowan, Tadlock
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

Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs

Description: 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.
Date: October 30, 2002
Creator: Hanrahan, Charles E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department