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R44441 – FY2017 Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriations: In Brief – 10/11/2016

R44441 – FY2017 Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriations: In Brief – 10/11/2016 published on

Author: Jim Monke, Specialist in Agricultural Policy
Pages: 17

The Agriculture appropriations bill funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), except for the Forest Service. It also funds the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and-in even-numbered fiscal years-the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Agriculture appropriations include both mandatory and discretionary spending. Discretionary amounts, though, are the primary focus during the bill’s development, since mandatory amounts are generally set by authorizing laws such as the farm bill. Bills: H.R. 5054, S.2956

Westlands Drainage Settlement: A Primer – IF10245

Westlands Drainage Settlement: A Primer – IF10245 published on

The Westlands Water District provides water to users in the Western San Joaquin Valley. It is located within the San Luis Unit of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s (“Reclamation”) Central Valley Project. In its initial feasibility report for the San Luis Unit, Reclamation indicated that drainage facilities would be required to carry away waste irrigation water in order to prevent salt accumulations that would render the soil unfit for irrigation. For that reason, the San Luis Act, P.L. 86-488, 74 Stat. 156 (1960), which authorized the creation of the San Luis Unit, prohibited Reclamation from commencing construction of the San Luis Unit until it either received assurances from the state of California that it would provide a master drainage outlet for the San Joaquin Valley or Reclamation had provided for the construction of an “interceptor drain” (as described in Reclamation’s feasibility study) that would meet the drainage requirements of the San Luis Unit. After the state of California notified Reclamation that it would not provide a master drain for the San Joaquin Valley, Reclamation informed Congress that it would make provision for the construction of the San Luis interceptor drain.

Date of Report: June 25, 2015
Pages: 2
Order Number: IF10245
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Agriculture Issues in U.S.-EU Trade Negotiations – IF10240

Agriculture Issues in U.S.-EU Trade Negotiations – IF10240 published on

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) is a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union (EU). Both sides seek to liberalize transatlantic trade and investment, set globally relevant rules and disciplines that could boost economic growth, support multilateral trade liberalization through the World Trade Organization (WTO), and address third country trade policy challenges. Agricultural issues have been an active topic of debate in the context of market access negotiations but mainly within regulatory and intellectual property rights discussions. Negotiations began in July 2013, with a ninth negotiations round in April 2015.

Date of Report: June 12, 2015
Pages: 2
Order Number: IF10240
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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and U.S. Agriculture – IF10233

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and U.S. Agriculture – IF10233 published on

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a potential free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated among 12 countries of the Asia-Pacific region: the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.  The TPP negotiations, which the United States joined in 2008, cover a broad range of trade topics from government procurement to foreign investment to trade in services, to cite just a few. Negotiations over market access for agricultural products have figured prominently in the discussions as one of a number of agricultural topics under negotiation.

Date of Report: May 29, 2015
Pages: 2
Order Number: IF10233
Price: $5.95

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U.S. Farm Policy: Local and Regional Food Systems – IF10232

U.S. Farm Policy: Local and Regional Food Systems – IF10232 published on

Many federal programs that support local foods generally define “local” based on the geographic distance between food production and sales based on the number of miles the food may be transported and/or require that food be sold within the state where it is produced to be considered local. A wide range of farm businesses may be considered to be engaged in local foods. These include direct-to-consumer marketing, farmers’ markets, farm-to-school programs, community-supported agriculture (CSA), community gardens, school gardens, and food hubs. Other types of operations may include on-farm sales/stores, internet marketing, food cooperatives and buying clubs, roadside stands, “pick-your-own” operations, urban farms, community kitchens, small-scale food processing and decentralized root cellars, and some agritourism or on-farm recreational activities. 

Date of Report: May 28, 2015
Pages: 2
Order Number: IF10232
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Fundamentals of the U.S. Sugar Program – IF10223

Fundamentals of the U.S. Sugar Program – IF10223 published on

The U.S. sugar program is singular among major farm 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. Historically, the U.S. sugar market has been managed to help stabilize supplies and support prices. The current sugar program provides a price guarantee to the processors of sugarcane and sugar beets and, by extension, to the producers of both crops. The 2014 farm bill (P.L. 113-79) reauthorized the sugar program that expired with the 2013 crop year through crop year 2018 with no changes. As before, it directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to administer the program at no budgetary cost to the federal government by limiting the amount of sugar supplied for food use in the U.S. market (see CRS Report R43998, U.S. Sugar Program Fundamentals, by Mark A. McMinimy). To achieve the dual objectives of providing a price guarantee to producers while avoiding program costs, USDA uses four tools to keep domestic market prices above guaranteed levels.

Date of Report: 5/8/2015
Pages: 2
Order Number: IF10223
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Chicken Imports from China – IF10148

Chicken Imports from China – IF10148 published on

In August 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) granted equivalency to China’s poultry processing system. This determination allows China to export processed (cooked) poultry meat to the United States. Imports from China must be sourced from U.S.-slaughtered poultry or from other countries allowed to export raw poultry to the United States (Canada, Chile, and France, as of March 2015). USDA’s action in August 2013 was the culmination of the equivalency determination process that began a decade earlier.

Date of Report: March 12, 2015
Pages: 2
Order Number: IF10148
Price: $5.95

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Reductions to Mandatory Agricultural Conservation Programs in Appropriations Law – IF10041

Reductions to Mandatory Agricultural Conservation Programs in Appropriations Law – IF10041 published on

Federal spending for agricultural conservation programs (which assist agricultural producers with correcting and preventing natural resource concerns) generally takes two forms: (1) discretionary spending provided through annual appropriations acts, and (2) mandatory spending authorized and paid for in multiyear legislation (e.g., farm bills). Historically, mandatory agricultural funding was reserved for the farm commodity programs, but it has expanded in recent years to include conservation, rural development, research, and bioenergy programs. This expansion has generated both concern and support. Some consider the expansion to be beyond the scope of the authorizing committee’s jurisdiction, while others prefer the stability of mandatory funding to that of the appropriations process.

For more analysis, see CRS Report R43669, Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2015 Appropriations; and CRS Report R41245, Reductions in Mandatory Agriculture Program Spending.

Date of Report: January 9, 2015
Pages: 2
Order Number: IF10041
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New Era Dawns in U.S.-Mexico Sugar Trade – IF10034

New Era Dawns in U.S.-Mexico Sugar Trade – IF10034 published on

On December 19, 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) signed an agreement with the Government of Mexico suspending the agency’s countervailing duty (CVD) investigation into subsidization of Mexican sugar exports. The DOC also signed a second agreement with Mexican sugar producers and exporters that suspends an antidumping (AD) duty investigation into Mexican sugar exports to the United States. Beginning in 2008, Mexican sugar exporters occupied a uniquely favored position among sugar exporters supplying the U.S. market, because the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provided Mexican sugar with unlimited, duty-free access. The two suspension agreements fundamentally alter the nature of trade in sugar between Mexico and the United States: first by imposing volume limits on Mexican sugar exports to the U.S. market, and second by setting minimum price levels for the exported sugar. 

CRS Resources

CRS Report R42535, Sugar Program: The Basics, by Mark A. McMinimy

Date of Report: December 31, 2014
Pages: 2
Order Number: IF10034
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U.S. Dairy Programs After the 2014 Farm Bill (P.L. 113-79) – IF00060

U.S. Dairy Programs After the 2014 Farm Bill (P.L. 113-79) – IF00060 published on

The 2014 farm bill makes significant changes to the structure of U.S. dairy support programs. In particular, major price and income support programs from the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246) were replaced with two new programs—an insurance-like Margin Protection Program (MPP) for producers and a Dairy Product Donation Program (DPDP) involving government purchases of dairy products during periods of low margins. Reaching a final compromise on U.S. dairy policy, as contained in the 2014 farm bill, was an arduous task, involving considerable debate over the nature and role of federal support programs for dairy.

Date of Report: October 30, 2014
Pages: 2
Order Number: IF00060
Price: $5.95

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