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Abortion: Legislative Response

Description: The primary focus of this issue brief is legislative action in the 107th Congress with respect to abortion. However, discussion of those legislative proposals necessarily involves a brief discussion of the leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions concerning a woman’s right to choose whether to terminate her pregnancy. For a more detailed discussion of the relevant case law, see CRS Report 95-724, Abortion Law Development: A Brief Overview.
Date: December 6, 2002
Creator: Lewis, Karen J.; Shimabukuro, Jon O. & Ely, Dana
open access

Conservation Reserve Program: Policy Issues for the 1995 Farm Bill

Description: The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), enacted in 1985, enables producers to bid to retire highly erodible or environmentally sensitive crop land for 10 years (or longer under certain circumstances). Successful bidders receive annual rental payments, and cost-sharing and technical assistance to install approved plantings. The program was to enroll between 40 and 45 million acres before 1996. Program goals are to reduce erosion and excess production, and more recently, to provide other environmental benefits. To date, about 36.5 million acres have been enrolled.
Date: December 19, 1994
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.
open access

U.S. Farm Income: Recent National and Regional Changes and the Federal Response

Description: Major segments of U.S. agriculture are experiencing declining farm income and financial difficulty. The degree of decline, however, differs among regions and commodities. In 1996, the overall farm sector experienced record high income that declined 6.7% in 1997, and is forecast to decline by another 3.6% in 1998. Several factors are responsible for the recent drop in farm income. Reduced export demand and large global supplies have reduced crop prices
Date: December 15, 1998
Creator: Heykoop, Jerry & Jones, Jean Yavis
open access

The Farm Bill: Soil and Water Conservation Issues

Description: This report discusses resource conservation topics, which are a part of the farm bill debate. Debate on existing programs focuses on reauthorization of the Conservation Reserve Program and possible amendments to the reserve, swampbuster, and conservation compliance.
Date: December 29, 1995
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.
open access

Pesticide Policy Issues

Description: On August 3, 1996, President Clinton signed P.L. 104-170, which contains significant amendments to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). Although it does not repeal the Delaney Clause, the new law removes pesticide residues from its purview. It requires EPA to set "safe" tolerances for residues of pesticides on both raw and processed food to provide "a reasonable certainty of no harm" from exposure to the pesticide residue, other dietary residues, and non-food sources. It also will expedite pesticide registration under FIFRA for minor uses; improve data collection on the effect of pesticides in children's diets; and prohibit states from regulating food based on pesticide residue concentrations below recently established federal tolerances.
Date: December 4, 1996
Creator: Schierow, Linda-Jo
open access

Grazing Fees and Rangeland Management

Description: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM, Department of the Interior) and the Forest Service (Department of Agriculture) manage approximately 70% of the 650 million acres of land owned by the federal government and many of these lands are classified as rangeland. Both agencies have well-established programs permitting private livestock grazing. The Administration issued new, controversial BLM rangeland management rules effective in August 1995. Supporters contended that the Administration's new rules were a step forward in sound resource management, but some believed they did not go far enough to protect rangelands and riparian areas. Many in the ranching community opposed the new rules, believing that they would ultimately reduce private livestock activity on federal lands, and increase operating costs. This report examines the debate over federal grazing management.
Date: December 4, 1998
Creator: Cody, Betsy A. & Baldwin, Pamela
open access

Dairy Policy Issues

Description: Several major dairy policy issues are addressed in the context of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (P.L. 107- 171, the 2002 farm bill), which was signed into law on May 13, 2002. Included in the enacted 2002 farm bill are a reauthorization of the dairy price support program for an additional 5 ½ years, and new authorization for direct payments to dairy farmers through September 2005, triggered whenever the market price of farm milk falls below a target price level.
Date: December 20, 2002
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
open access

Agricultural Trade in the 106th Congress: A Review of Issues

Description: The 106th Congress considered a number of trade policy developments against a backdrop of weak foreign demand and large world supplies of agricultural commodities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the value of U.S. agricultural exports fell between FY1996 (a record year) and FY1999 by almost $11 billion, to $49.2 billion. Agricultural exports did climb back to $50.9 billion in FY2000, and are now projected at $53 billion in FY2001. However, the pace of recovery concerned many agricultural groups and their supporters in Congress. Although they recognize that many world economic, farm production, political, and weather factors influence exports, many of these groups believe that the agricultural sector's future prosperity also depends upon such U.S. trade policies as: 1) encouraging China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its binding rules and responsibilities; 2) exempting agricultural exports from U.S. unilateral economic sanctions; 3) fully using export and food aid programs; and 4) aggressively battling foreign-imposed barriers to the movement of U.S. farm products. A few U.S. farm groups are wary of such approaches.
Date: December 29, 2000
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.; Hanrahan, Charles E. & Jurenas, Remy
open access

Agroterrorism: Options in Congress

Description: Although U.S. intelligence agencies have not identified any terrorist acts targeting agricultural production (i.e., agroterrorism) in the United States to date, the events of September 11, 2001 have awakened the nation to their possibility. Some experts estimate that a single agroterrorist attack using a highly contagious livestock disease could cost between $10 billion and $30 billion to the U.S. economy. This report examines the potential threats to America’s agriculture from a deliberate biological attack, describes the current defense structure and capabilities available to respond to agroterrorism, and analyzes current congressional proposals to address the threat of biological weapons to U.S. agriculture.
Date: December 19, 2001
Creator: Segarra, Alejandro E.
open access

Hog Prices: Questions and Answers

Description: This report discusses price changes in the pork industry. In late 1998, the lowest hog prices in decades created a crisis in the pork industry and prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Congress to take a series of actions to assist producers, including direct cash payments, and the purchase of extra pork products to reduce market supplies. The industry sought additional aid as low prices persisted into 1999.
Date: December 15, 1999
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
open access

Emergency Funding for Agriculture: A Brief History of Congressional Action, FY1989-FY2001

Description: From FY1989 through FY2001 (to date), nineteen appropriations or farm disaster acts have provided $38 billion in emergency funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs. Nearly $27 billion, or about 70 percent of the total amount, has been provided for FY1999-FY2001 alone. Since FY1989, the vast majority of the funds has been paid directly to farmers, primarily in the form of “market loss payments” (just under $17 billion, all since FY1999) to compensate for low farm commodity prices, and disaster payments($15.6 billion) paid to any producer who experienced a major crop loss caused by a natural disaster. The remaining $5.4 billion has funded a wide array of other USDA programs, including other forms of farm disaster assistance, farm loans, overseas food aid, food and nutrition programs, and rural development assistance.
Date: December 11, 2000
Creator: Chite, Ralph M.
open access

IMF and World Bank: U.S. Contributions and Agency Budgets

Description: 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.
Date: December 9, 1999
Creator: Sanford, Jonathan E.
open access

Agriculture and the 106th Congress: A Summary of Major Issues

Description: Most congressional interest in agriculture in the 106th Congress was focused on persistent low prices for major commodities and proposals to redress declining farm income. Six emergency farm aid bills were approved, increasing agricultural spending by nearly $27 billion for fiscal years 1999-2001. These bills provided disaster relief along with short term “market loss payments”to farmers to shore up farm income. Some longer term changes also were enacted as part of emergency farm legislation, which this report discusses in brief.
Date: December 15, 2000
Creator: Jones, Jean Yavis
open access

Global Climate Change

Description: This report discusses the effect of human activities on global climate change. Human activities, particularly burning of fossil fuels, have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and other trace gases, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methane, and nitrous oxide.
Date: December 4, 1996
Creator: Justus, John R. & Morrissey, Wayne A.
open access

Global Climate Change

Description: This report discusses different perspectives used to consider issues related to the global climate change and issues related to the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Agreement.
Date: December 14, 2001
Creator: Justus, John R. & Fletcher, Susan R.
open access

Global Climate Change: The Kyoto Protocol

Description: This report discusses the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that was completed December 11, 1997, committing the industrialized nations to specified, legally binding reductions in emissions of six “greenhouse gases.”
Date: December 17, 2001
Creator: Fletcher, Susan R.
open access

The Listing of a Species: Legal Definition and Biological Realities

Description: The 103d Congress will debate the reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 2 which expired on October 1, 1992. The Act has recently generated controversy, even though it passed in 1973 with virtually no opposition. Much of the debate concerns specific actions that would jeopardize particular species or populations. However, the controversy has been fueled by the discrepancies between two sets of legal definitions and the subtle biological realities that they approximate
Date: December 15, 1992
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne
open access

Norwegian Commercial Whaling: Issues for Congress

Description: On May 16, 1996, 23 Members of Congress sent a letter to President Clinton expressing their concern over Norway's announcement that it intended to permit its whalers to kill as many as 425 minke whales that year. The co-signers urged the President "to take decisive action to prevent Norway from resuming its illicit whale harvesting," including the possible use of economic sanctions. For its 1997 hunt, Norway has increased its quota to 580 animals.
Date: December 31, 1996
Creator: Ek, Carl
open access

Endangered Species: Difficult Choices

Description: This report discusses issues debated in the 107th Congress while is considering various proposals to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). Major issues in recent years have included changing the role of science in decision-making, changing the role of critical habitat, reducing conflicts with Department of Defense activities, incorporating further protection for property owners, and increasing protection of listed species, among others. In addition, many have advocated including significant changes to ESA regulations made during the Clinton Administration in the law itself.
Date: December 6, 2002
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.; Corn, M. Lynne & Baldwin, Pamela
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