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Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling
This report covers the dispute between the U.S with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, who say that the recent country-of-origin labeling (COOL) system implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is unfair and does not meet its original objectives. This dispute was brought before the WTO dispute panel and found to be valid. The report ends with a discussion of options for the U.S. in regards to modifying COOL to follow WTO rulings.
Generalized System of Preferences: Agricultural Imports
This report discusses the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which provides duty-free tariff treatment for certain products from designated developing countries. Opinion within the U.S. agriculture industry is mixed, reflecting both support for and opposition to the current program. The 111th Congress did not extend the GSP in 2010, and it was set to expire December 31, 2010, which will likely become a legislative issue in the 112th Congress.
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.
Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling
This report covers the dispute between the U.S with its neighbors Canada and Mexico, who say that the recent country-of-origin labeling (COOL) system implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is unfair and does not meet its original objectives. This dispute was brought before the WTO dispute panel and found to be valid. The report ends with a discussion of options for the U.S. in regards to modifying COOL to follow WTO rulings.
Farm Safety Net Proposals for the 2012 Farm Bill
This report discusses three proposals-one by the National Cotton Council, one by Representative Neugebauer, and another by a private crop insurance company-focus on modifications to crop insurance programs. The National Farmers Union proposes to replace existing farm programs with a combination of farmer-owned-reserves, increased loan rates, and set asides. A proposed new dairy program-the Dairy Security Act-would provide a voluntary margin insurance program and market stabilization activities in place of current dairy programs. Finally, the proposed REFRESH Act (Senator Lugar) would eliminate most commodity programs (including the sugar program), and incorporate ARRM, the Dairy Security Act, and expanded whole-farm revenue insurance in their place.
Japan's 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami: Food and Agriculture Implications
The March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused widespread devastation that affected many of the country's agricultural and fishery areas. The nuclear crisis that followed at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, and the subsequent detection of radioactive contamination of food produced near the disabled facility, further raised fears about the safety of Japan's food production systems and its future food exports. Most reports acknowledge that Japan's current production and supply shortages, along with rising food safety concerns and possible longer-term radiation threats to its food production, could limit Japan's food exports while possibly increasing its need for food imports in the future. It is still not clear what effect, if any, Japan's current food supply and demand situation will have on world farm commodity markets and food prices.
Generalized System of Preferences: Agricultural Imports
The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) provides duty-free tariff treatment for certain products from designated developing countries. Some in Congress have continued to call for changes to the program that could limit GSP benefits to certain countries, among other changes. Opinion within the U.S. agriculture industry is mixed, reflecting both support for and opposition to the current program. In the past few years, Congress has extended GSP through a series of short-term extensions. However, the 111th Congress did not extend the GSP in 2010, and it was set to expire December 31, 2010. The expiration of the GSP will likely become a legislative issues in the 112th Congress.
Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP): Status and Issues
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246, 2008 farm bill) created the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). This report discusses the two main purposes of BCAP, which are (1) to support the establishment and production of eligible crops for conversion to bioenergy in selected areas, and (2) to assist agricultural and forest land owners and operators with collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of eligible material for use in a biomass conversion facility.
Agriculture Conservation Programs: A Scorecard
This report provides basic information on several agriculture conservation programs, primarily drawn from agency budget presentations and websites, about each program using a consistent format. This information should help respond to basic questions and resolve many common sources of confusion about the purposes of the program, program participation and policy topics.
Animal Agriculture: 2008 Farm Bill Issues
This report discusses a number of animal-related provisions related to the 2008 farm bill. It includes background and specific provisions from the bill for each of the issues and options analyzed in the report: market competition and packer concentration, livestock mandatory price reporting, meat and poultry safety, country-of-origin labeling, animal identification for health protection, animal welfare, feed prices, disaster assistance, and environmental issues. The report also provides a summary comparison of previous farm bills with the 2008 provisions for selected issues.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations for FY2011
This report provides an overview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) budget and operations. This report chronicles congressional action on the FY2011 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS), and Related Agencies Appropriations bills, as well as any FY2010 supplemental appropriations bills, that provide funding for ATF.
Agriculture and Forestry Provisions in Climate Change Legislation (S. 3036)
This report summarizes some of the domestic agriculture and forestry provisions in the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 (S. 3036, formerly S. 2191), as ordered reported out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in December 2007.
Country-of-Origin Labeling for Foods and the WTO Trade Dispute on Meat Labeling
This report covers the dispute between the U.S with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, who say that the recent country-of-origin labeling (COOL) system implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is unfair and does not meet its original objectives. This dispute was brought before the WTO dispute panel and found to be valid. The report ends with a discussion of options for the U.S. in regards to modifying COOL to follow WTO rulings.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations
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.
Farm Commodity Programs: Honey
This report discusses the honey price support program, which was first created by the Agricultural Act of 1949 (P.L. 81-439) to provide market price stability for honey producers and to encourage maintenance of sufficient bee populations for pollination
Farm Commodity Programs: Base Acreage and Planting Flexibility
This report discusses two policy issues that have arisen regarding planting flexibility on base acres, particularly restrictions on growing fruits and vegetables as an alternative crop. First, some Midwestern producers felt penalized because their history of growing fruits and vegetables reduced their soybean bases under the 2002 farm bill. H.R. 2045 and S. 1038 would allow certain fruits and vegetables to be grown without penalizing any future recalculation of base, while reducing a farm’s subsidy payments for one year. S. 194 would allow chicory to be grown on base acres. Second, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel found that the restriction on planting fruits and vegetables made direct and counter-cyclical payments ineligible to be a nondistorting payment (green box) for international trade purposes.
Farm Commodity Programs: Direct Payments, Counter-Cyclical Payments, and Marketing Loans
Commodity support provisions in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-171, the 2002 farm bill) include three primary types of payments: (1) annual direct payments unrelated to production or prices, (2) counter-cyclical payments which are triggered when prices are below statutorily-determined target prices, and (3) marketing assistance loans that offer interim financing and, if prices fall below statutorily-determined loan prices, additional income support. This report describes the payments for wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, oilseeds, peanuts, wool, mohair, honey, and certain other small grains. These commodities have similar rules, and generally account for about two-thirds of USDA farm commodity program outlays.
Federal Grazing Regulations: Public Lands Council v. Babbitt
This report discusses new regulations on livestock grazing on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management became effective August 21, 1995. Many aspects of the new regulations were challenged in Public Lands Council v. Babbitt. A federal district court upheld many of the regulations, but struck down four of them and enjoined their implementation. At the appellate level, only the new regulation allowing conservation use to the exclusion of livestock grazing for the full term of a permit was held invalid. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case and argument has been set for March 1, 2000.
Previewing the Next Farm Bill
Congress periodically establishes agricultural and food policy in an omnibus farm bill. The 112th Congress faces reauthorization of the current five-year farm bill because many of its provisions expire in 2012. The 2008 farm bill contained 15 titles covering farm commodity support, horticulture, livestock, conservation, nutrition assistance, international food aid, trade, agricultural research, farm credit, rural development, bioenergy, and forestry, among others. Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees anticipate having a new farm bill completed before the end of this session. If the current farm bill expires without a new authorization or a temporary extension, it automatically would be replaced with permanent statutes for farm commodity support, which are not fully compatible with current national economic objectives, global trading rules, and federal budgetary or regulatory policies.
The Navy Biofuel Initiative Under the Defense Production Act
This report looks at the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to “assist the development and support of a sustainable commercial biofuels industry" which was entered into by the Secretaries of Energy, Agriculture, and the Navy. It raises issues and concerns for Congress to consider when deciding how to fund MOU.
Potential Farm Sector Effects of 2009 H1N1 "Swine Flu": Questions and Answers
This report discusses how the outbreak of the strain of influenza A (H1N1), commonly referred to as "swine flu," affected the domestic and international pork markets.
Agricultural Trade in a U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)
As part of its overall trade strategy, the Bush Administration over the last year began negotiating bilateral free trade area (FTA) agreements with four regional blocs or countries. Negotiations on a U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) involving Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua began in late January 2003 and are currently scheduled to conclude this December. While negotiators have reportedly made progress in a number of areas, efforts to formulate a framework for handling agricultural trade have been slow.
Agriculture in the U.S.-Dominican Republic Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA)
On August 2, 2005, President Bush signed into law the bill to implement the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement, or DR-CAFTA (P.L. 109-53, H.R. 3045). In DR-CAFTA, the United States and six countries will completely phase out tariffs and quotas — the primary means of border protection — on all but four agricultural commodities traded between them in stages up to 20 years. The four exempted products are as follows: for the United States, sugar; for Costa Rica, fresh onions and fresh potatoes; and for the four other Central American countries, white corn. DR-CAFTA’s provisions, once fully implemented, are expected to result in trade gains, though small, for the U.S. agricultural sector. This report describes this agreement in detail, as well as the stances of both supporters and detractors.
The Dominican Republic-Central America- United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA DR): Developments in Trade and Investment
On August 5, 2004, the United States entered into the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). This permanent, comprehensive, and reciprocal trade agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff barriers to two-way trade, building on unilateral trade preferences begun under the 1983 Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). CAFTA-DR reinforces the idea that growth in trade correlates closely with policies that promote economic stability, private investment in production, public investment in education, infrastructure, logistics, and good governance in general.
The Dominican Republic-Central America- United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTADR): Developments in Trade and Investment
On August 5, 2004, the United States entered into the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). This permanent, comprehensive, and reciprocal trade agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff barriers to two-way trade, building on unilateral trade preferences begun under the 1983 Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). CAFTA-DR reinforces the idea that growth in trade correlates closely with policies that promote economic stability, private investment in production, public investment in education, infrastructure, logistics, and good governance in general.
U.S. Tobacco Production, Consumption, and Export Trends
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U.S. Tobacco Production, Consumption, and Export Trends
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U.S.-EU Poultry Dispute on the Use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs)
This report highlights the dispute between the U.S. and EU over the use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs) during the processing of poultry products. PRT's are antimicrobial rinses--including chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate, and peroxyacids, among others--that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for use in poultry processing to reduce the amount of microbes on meat.
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. This report discusses various food safety proposals in Congress, as well as agencies with food safety related responsibilities.
Food Safety on the Farm: Federal Programs and Legislative Action
In recent years, major outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, product recalls, and reports about unsafe food imports have caused some to question the adequacy of the U.S. food safety system. Stakeholders appear to agree that an optimal system should encompass a comprehensive, preventive approach to food safety, focusing on those foods and points in the food system that pose the greatest public health risks, starting at the point of production - that is, on farms and ranches. This report discusses differing opinions on this topic, as well as related legislation.
Agriculture in the WTO: Limits on Domestic Support
This report provides a brief overview of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) commitments most relevant for U.S. domestic farm policy.
Food and Agriculture Provisions in the FY1997 Supplemental Appropriations Act
Report providing an overview of provisions and funding related to food and agriculture program as a part of a supplemental appropriations bill (P.L. 105-18, H.R. 1871).
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.-EU Poultry Dispute on the Use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs)
This report highlights the dispute between the U.S. and EU over the use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments (PRTs) during the processing of poultry products. PRT's are antimicrobial rinses--including chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate, and peroxyacids, among others--that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for use in poultry processing to reduce the amount of microbes on meat.
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report has two sections. The first provides an overview of the current USDA disaster assistance programs: federal crop insurance, NAP payments, emergency disaster loans, the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), and four other smaller disaster programs authorized in the 2008 farm bill. The second section reviews the recent history of emergency supplemental farm disaster assistance.
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.
Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Online News and Information Sources
A variety of free online sources can be used by Members of Congress and staff seeking current and breaking news on fisheries, aquaculture, and marine mammals. Services identified include newswires and news services, press release services, regional and topical newsletters, topical discussion groups, comprehensive resource archives, professional organizations, trade and interest organizations, government agencies and international commissions, and issue-specific sites. This summary does not attempt a complete listing of available online sources, but offers a selection of frequently used sources. An emphasis of this report is on identifying services which deliver news and information directly to the user by e-mail. To assure that a broad array of useful sources is covered and to remove sources that are no longer active, this report will be updated periodically.
Grazing Regulations: Changes by the Bureau of Land Management
This report discusses the two-pronged approach to grazing reform the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is taking by proposing changes to grazing regulations and considering other changes to grazing policies. BLM asserts that regulatory changes are needed to increase flexibility for grazing managers and permittees, to improve rangeland management and grazing permit administration, to promote conservation, and to comply with court decisions.
Implementing International Agreements on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act
The focus of this report is on proposed amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Funding Plant and Animal Health Emergencies: Transfers from the Commodity Credit Corporation
This report examines the Secretary of Agriculture's authority to transfer funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for emergency control programs. The Secretary’s use of this authority has increased in recent years, and has become an issue within government concerning the method for funding plant and animal health programs.
Farm Labor: The Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR)
American agricultural employers have long utilized foreign workers on a temporary basis, regarding them as an important labor resource. At the same time, the relatively low wages and adverse working conditions of such workers have caused them to be viewed as a threat to domestic American workers. Some have argued that foreign guest workers compete unfairly with U.S. workers — both in terms of compensation that they are willing to accept and by making it somewhat more difficult for domestic workers to organize and to bargain with management. 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: i.e., the adverse effect wage rate (AEWR). This report deals with one element of immigration (i.e., namely the H-2A workers). It introduces the adverse effect wage rate, it examines the concerns out of which it grew, and it explains at least some of the problems that have been encountered in giving it effect.
Agriculture and China's Accession to the World Trade Organization
The prospect of future growth in demand for agricultural products makes China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) an important issue for the U.S. agricultural sector. Most agricultural interest groups strongly support China’s entry into the WTO, because they think it will increase U.S. agricultural exports and enhance farm income. In the 107th Congress, attention is focused on China’s final WTO accession negotiations where differences over agriculture have become an issue.
International Food Aid Provisions
Provision of U.S. agricultural commodities for emergency relief and economic development is the United States' major response to food security problems in developing countries. Title III in the omnibus farm bill enacted in June 2008, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, reauthorizes and makes a number of changes in U.S. international food aid programs. Farm bill debate over U.S. food aid programs focused generally on how to make delivery of food aid more efficient and more effective. This report explores this and related legislation, as well as the areas of this ongoing and international issue that are continually debated.
Energy Provisions of the Farm Bill: Comparison of the New Law with Previous Law and House and Senate Bills
This report provides a side-by-side comparison of the energy provisions of the new law with previously existing law, as well as the versions engrossed by the House and Senate in the 107th Congress. While the energy provisions in the House version were spread throughout the bill, the Senate version consolidated most of its energy provisions into Title IX - Energy. Both bills provided for the use of reserve land for renewable energy production. The House version also allowed for loans to farmers in response to high energy prices, while the Senate version did not.
The Pigford Case: USDA Settlement of a Discrimination Suit by Black Farmers
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The Pigford Case: USDA Settlement of a Discrimination Suit by Black Farmers
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Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: Methyl Bromide Control Measures
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IMF and World Bank: U.S. Contributions and Agency Budgets
This paper shows how much the United States has contributed to these international agencies in recent years. It also shows how much the international agencies budget (and the source of those funds) for their administrative expenses and their operational budgets. This report will be updated periodically.
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.
Water Quality Initiatives and Agriculture
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