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Revisions are being made in light of and Supreme Court rulings that interpreted the regulatory scope of the CWA more narrowly than the agencies and lower courts were then doing, and created uncertainty about the appropriate scope of waters protected under the CWA. This report is an analysis of the provisions in H. The measure also included appropriations for the remainder of the fiscal year for Overseas Contingency Operations in the Security Assistance Appropriations Act Division B.

On December 10, , the President signed H. Division A of H. The Federal Food Safety System: February 7, — December 16, RS Numerous federal, state, and local agencies share responsibilities for regulating the safety of the U. FDA, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for ensuring the safety of all domestic and imported food products except for most meats and poultry.

FDA also has oversight of all seafood, fish, and shellfish products. September 22, — December 16, R Generalized System of Preferences: November 29, — December 8, RS The Generalized System of Preferences GSP provides duty-free tariff treatment for certain products from designated developing countries. Leading agricultural imports based on value include processed foods and food processing inputs; beverages and drinking waters; processed and fresh fruits and vegetables; sugar and sugar confectionery; olive oil; and miscellaneous food preparations and inputs for further processing.

The majority of these imports are from Thailand, Brazil, Trade Situation for Fruit and Vegetable Products. April 30, — December 1, RL Over the last decade, there has been a growing U. This trade deficit has generally widened over time as growth in imports has outpaced export growth. As a result, the United States has gone from being a net exporter of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables in the early s to being a net January 14, — November 18, R One of the initiatives within the CAP focused on the control of methane emissions, a potent short-lived climate pollutant.

It called for the U. AEF requirements apply equally to U. Designing a transparent and comprehensive AEF definition has proven difficult and has evolved over the years. The current set of laws and rules governing farm program eligibility—particularly August 21, — October 17, R Recent threats to water availability as a result of moderate to exceptional drought in several states have raised questions about agricultural water use and efficiencies across the United States.

An understanding of common irrigation technologies and the impacts of best management practices in irrigation may be useful to Congress concerning potential policy responses to this issue. Additional demands on water supplies, extreme weather events e. July 9, — October 17, RL The Secretary of Agriculture, acting The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the continuing appropriations provisions for FY in H. The measure also included provisions covering appropriations in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill for all of FY Division A , as well as emergency funds to combat the Zika virus and provide relief for flood victims in Louisiana and other affected states Division B.

On September 29, , the President signed H. March 23, — October 6, R USDA conducts its own research and administers extramural federal funding to states and local partners primarily Conservation Compliance and U. April 2, — October 6, R The Food Security Act of P. Many of the provisions remain in effect today, including the two compliance provisions—highly erodible land conservation sodbuster and wetland conservation swampbuster.


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The two provisions, collectively referred to as conservation compliance, require that in exchange for certain U. August 19, — September 27, R According to the U. Department of Agriculture USDA , the United States is expected to be the fourth-largest producer and third-largest exporter of peanuts in the world in In addition to its prominent role in international markets, U. Agricultural Trade with Cuba: Current Limitations and Future Prospects. July 23, — September 21, R After more than half a century during which trade relations between the United States and Cuba have evolved from a tight economic embargo to a narrow window of trade in U.

International Food Aid Programs: February 3, — September 14, R For almost six decades, the United States has played a leading role in global efforts to alleviate hunger and malnutrition and to enhance world food security through international food assistance—traditionally through either the donation or sale on concessional terms of U. Textiles are a sensitive sector in the Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP , an agreement that would establish a free-trade zone across the Pacific if it is approved by Congress and foreign governments. Because the TPP includes Vietnam, a major apparel producer that now mainly sources yarns and fabrics from China and other Asian nations, the agreement could shift global trading patterns for textiles and demand for U.

Canada and Mexico, both significant regional textile markets for the United States, and Japan, a major manufacturer of high-end textiles and industrial fabrics, The greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus is a squat, feathered, chicken-like bird that is currently found in 11 western states. For more than 25 years, there has been considerable controversy concerning whether to list sage-grouse for protection under the Endangered Species Act ESA; P.


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Under the act, one of the factors that can lead to a listing is the inadequacy of existing regulatory Every year, Congress considers numerous pieces of legislation that would create or modify federal government programs and activities. The variety of approaches used across the federal budget to fund these programs and activities involve different timelines for budgetary decisionmaking, and different processes and committees within Congress to make those decisions.

How a particular funding mechanism is structured requires tradeoffs between the frequency of congressional review and the predictability of funding for the program. The purpose of this report is to explain these approaches, Data, Trends, and Issues. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior DOI are the two primary federal entities tasked with wildland fire management activities.

Federal wildland fire management includes activities such as preparedness, suppression, fuel reduction, and site rehabilitation, among others. January 22, — August 1, R The Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers TAAF program provides technical assistance and cash benefits to producers of farm commodities and fishermen who experience adverse economic effects from increased imports.

Congress first authorized this program in , and made significant changes to it in the economic stimulus package P. Comparison of Selected Provisions in S. January 29, — July 26, R Congress most recently enacted major energy legislation in the Energy Independence and Security Act of P. The th Congress is currently considering new legislation to address broad energy issues.

On April 20, , the Senate passed an amended version of S. On December 3, , the House passed an amended version of H. On May 25, , the House passed an amended version of S. October 5, — July 25, R Global wine production totaled roughly 28 billion liters in France, Italy, and Spain are among the principal EU wine-producing countries. Other exporting nations include Australia, Chile, Formal negotiations began in July Through the negotiations, both sides are seeking 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 Key Provisions and Issues for Congress. The proposed agreement is perhaps the most ambitious FTA undertaken by the United States in terms of its size, the breadth and depth of its commitments, its potential evolution, and its geo-political significance. Signed on February 4, , after several years of negotiations, if implemented, TPP would be the largest FTA in which the United States participates, and would eliminate trade barriers and establish new Overview and Comparison with the United States.

Historically, both the United States and the EU have provided significant government support for their agricultural sectors. In contrast, the EU provides more extensive support to a broader range of farm and food products—including livestock products and fresh In the th Congress, the House and Senate have passed energy legislation that addresses hydropower. Both bills would establish a formal timeline for nonfederal hydropower project regulation, would appoint the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC as the lead agency for nonfederal August 24, — May 17, RS The Farm Credit System FCS is a nationwide financial cooperative lending to agricultural and aquatic producers, rural homeowners, and certain agriculture-related businesses and cooperatives.

Established in , this government-sponsored enterprise GSE has a statutory mandate to serve agriculture. It receives tax benefits but no federal appropriations or guarantees. Agricultural Exports and Farm Bill Programs: Background and Current Issues. But the trend of recent years—increasing export sales and a wider agricultural trade surplus—was reversed in FY, and the reversal is expected to be more pronounced in FY Meanwhile, the value of U. April 22, — April 13, R Department of Agriculture USDA , as program administrator, is directed 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.

To achieve both objectives, USDA uses four tools—as reauthorized without change by the farm bill P. Trade Concepts, Performance, and Policy: March 27, — March 25, RL Congress plays a major role in U. There are a number of major trade issues that are currently the focus of Congress. Export-Import Bank, and legislative action on these issues could be forthcoming in the th Congress. September 16, — March 8, RS Since the final rule to implement country-of-origin labeling COOL took effect in March , most retail food stores have been required to inform consumers about the country of origin of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, shellfish, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, ginseng, and ground and muscle cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and goat.

The rules were required by the farm bill P.

October 13, — March 4, R February 4, — February 29, R Formal negotiations commenced in July Both sides initially aimed to conclude the negotiations in two years, but more recently have updated their timeline and aim to conclude the T-TIP by the end of Twelve rounds of T-TIP negotiations have occurred to date. The United States and EU seek to enhance market access and trade disciplines by addressing remaining transatlantic barriers to Nutrients in Agricultural Production: A Water Quality Overview.

February 20, — February 29, R Nutrients are elements essential to plant and animal growth. In agricultural production, the focus generally rests on the three primary macronutrients——nitrogen N , phosphorus P , and potassium K —because of their relative abundance in plants. As crops grow and are harvested, they gradually remove the existing nutrients from the soil and over time will require additional nutrients to maintain or increase crop yield. March 20, — February 24, R Sales of locally produced foods comprise a small but growing part of U.

May 27, — February 23, R October 21, — February 23, R March 18, — February 17, R January 20, — February 12, R To promote energy diversity and improve energy security, Congress has expressed interest in biopower—electricity generated from biomass. Biopower, a baseload power source, can be produced from a large range of biomass feedstocks nationwide e. The two most common biopower processes are combustion e. Proponents have stated that biopower has the potential to strengthen rural economies, enhance energy security, and minimize the environmental October 6, — February 12, R Biopower—a form of renewable energy—is the generation of electric power from biomass feedstocks.

In , Biopower comprised about 1. Its advantages include a potential for baseload power production, greenhouse gas emission reduction, and use of renewable biomass feedstock, among other things. Its disadvantages include uncertain sustainable feedstock supply and infrastructure concerns, among other things. January 8, — February 9, R The 12 countries announced the conclusion of the TPP negotiations and released the text of the agreement in late , after several years of ongoing talks.

Trade ministers from the TPP countries signed the final agreement on February 4, , but Congress would need to pass implementing legislation for the agreement to enter into Selected Federal Food Safety Agencies. FDA, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for ensuring the safety of the majority of all domestic and imported food products except for meat and poultry products. FSIS, an agency at the U. Department of Agriculture, regulates most meat, March 29, — January 7, R The farm bill P.

The farm bill required USDA to propose rules to implement these provisions. Recent media and industry reports have employed the term big data as a key to the future of increased food production and sustainable agriculture. A recent hearing on the private elements of big data in agriculture suggests that Congress too is interested in potential opportunities and challenges big data may hold. While there appears to be great interest, the subject of big data is complex and often misunderstood, especially within the context of agriculture.

There is no commonly accepted definition of the term big data. It is often used to describe a modern trend in which the combination Final Rule for , , and While the rule contains wide-ranging information, most stakeholders are primarily concerned with the annual volume amounts for total renewable fuel, advanced biofuel, cellulosic biofuel, and biomass-based diesel. May 11, — November 20, R Some livestock producers, believing such Reauthorization in the th Congress.

December 2, — November 12, R Under the United States Grain Standards Act USGSA of , the federal government is authorized to establish official marketing standards not health and safety standards for grains and oilseeds, and to provide procedures for grain inspection and weighing. To encourage the marketing of high-quality grain for an agriculture sector that is highly dependent on export demand, the USGSA requires that exported grains and oilseeds be officially inspected if sold by grade and weighed.

Domestic shipments do not require official inspection and weighing, but the service is available and is often Meat Animal Research Center: July 1, — October 9, R The Center is a U. A veterinarian, who had worked at the Center for 24 years, approached the newspaper after his concerns about animal welfare conditions apparently went unanswered by the Center. Drought in the United States: Congressional Research Service www.

While the technology and science to predict droughts have improved, regional predictions remain limited to a few months in advance. History suggests that severe and extended droughts are inevitable and part of natural climate cycles. The physical conditions causing drought in the United States are increasingly understood to be linked to sea surface temperatures SSTs July 28, — August 31, R Over 15 years, the RFS requires that increasing amounts of biofuels—36 billion gallons by —be used in transportation fuel. The mandate is to be accomplished Farm Safety Net Programs: October 21, — August 21, R Department of Agriculture USDA operates several programs 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. Federal crop insurance is often referred to as the centerpiece of the farm safety net because of its cost and broad scope for addressing natural disasters. The program is permanently authorized and makes available subsidized insurance for more than commodities ranging from apples to wheat to help farmers December 13, — August 13, R The current program, which is administered by the U. Background, Regulation, and Policy Issues. March 7, — July 28, RL Biotechnology refers primarily to the use of recombinant DNA techniques to genetically modify or bioengineer plants and animals.

Most crops developed through recombinant DNA technology have been engineered to be tolerant of various herbicides or to be pest resistant through having a pesticide genetically engineered into the plant organism. Over the past 15 years, GE varieties in the United States have increased from 3. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza: Control Options and Issues for Congress.

For the first few centuries after the arrival of Europeans in North America, plants and animals of many species were sent between the two land masses. The transfer of non-natives consisted not only of intentional westbound species ranging from pigs to dandelions but also of intentional eastbound species such as grey squirrels and tomatoes. And for those centuries, the remaining non-native species crossing the Atlantic, uninvited and often unwelcome, were ignored if they were noticed at all.

They were joined by various species arriving deliberately or accidentally from Asia and Africa. The federal government supports scientific and technological advancement directly by funding research and development and indirectly by creating September 5, — March 20, R The broad outline of an agreement was announced on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Policies are available for about commodities, covering crops supported by traditional farm programs e.

Climate Change Adaptation by Federal Agencies: An Analysis of Plans and Issues for Congress. Though Congress has debated the significance of global climate change and what federal policies, if any, should address them, the Government Accountability Office GAO since has identified the changing climate as one of the 30 most significant risks facing the federal government. The November Executive Order , Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, directed agencies to undertake vulnerability assessments and planning for adaptation.

The th Congress faces many water resource development, management, and protection issues. These issues often arise at the regional or local levels but frequently have a federal connection. Ongoing issues include competition over water, drought and flood responses and policies, competitiveness and October 22, — February 4, R Although the fiscal year began under a continuing resolution, the April 2, — February 2, R January 31, — January 23, R June 22, — January 12, R The Biomass Crop Assistance Program BCAP is designed to assist the bioenergy industry to overcome the hurdle of continuous biomass availability—viewed as a critical deterrent to private sector investment in the cellulosic biofuels industry.

To accomplish this, BCAP is charged with two tasks: This report discusses the Renewable Fuel Standard RFS that sets the annual minimum use requirements for biofuels in the nation's transportation fuel supply. October 6, — November 13, R The Bali Package represents the first multilateral trade deal in nearly two decades; however, it covers only a small fraction of the January 22, — September 16, RL President Obama signed the legislation implementing the U.

Dairy Provisions in the Farm Bill P. March 18, — August 29, R The Conservation Reserve Program CRP provides payments to agricultural producers to take highly erodible and environmentally sensitive land out of production and install resource conserving practices for 10 or more years. Participants offer land for enrollment through two types of sign-up: General sign-ups are competitive and only open October 5, — August 28, R Textiles are a contentious and unresolved issue in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP negotiations to establish a free-trade zone across the Pacific.

Because the negotiating parties include Vietnam, a major apparel producer that now mainly sources yarns and fabrics from China and other Asian nations, the agreement has the potential to shift global trading patterns for textiles and demand for U. Canada and Mexico, both significant regional textile markets for the United States, and Japan, a major manufacturer of high-end textiles and industrial fabrics, are also April 14, — August 13, R The following table lists the names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns related to border security.

Policy areas identified include the following: Immigration and foreign visitors: January 20, — July 17, R Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Specialty Crops: Selected Farm Bill and Federal Programs. October 3, — July 11, R Specialty crop producers are ineligible for the federal commodity price and income support programs that benefit commodity crop producers e. Unlike federal support for commodity crops, support for specialty crops spans a wide range of existing USDA programs, many of which also provide support to other agricultural March 12, — June 16, R Much of the criticism has focused on environmental regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency EPA.

Some claim that EPA is overreaching its regulatory authority and imposing costly and burdensome requirements on society. In general, the agriculture community, among others, has been vocal in its concerns, contending that EPA appears to be focusing some of its recent regulatory efforts on Conservation Provisions in the Farm Bill P.

The Agricultural Act of farm bill, P. After years of debate and deliberation, the enacted farm bill included a number of changes to the Conservation title Title II , including program consolidation and reauthorization, amendments to conservation compliance, and a reduction in overall funding.

Debate on the farm bill focused on a number of controversial issues. While many did not consider conservation to be controversial, nonetheless, a number of policy issues shaped the final version of the title and ultimately its role in The changes stem from the desire of many in Congress, particularly members of the agriculture committees, to bolster what they consider to be the most significant aspect of the farm safety net.

Under the federal crop insurance program, which is administered by the U. Expiration and Extension of the Farm Bill. November 16, — April 11, R Farm bills, like many other pieces of legislation, have become more complicated and politically sensitive. They are taking longer to enact than in previous decades. Legislative delays have caused the past two farm bills the and farm bills to expire for short periods, and to be extended for months or a year while a new farm bill was developed.

September 29, — April 11, R Some of these programs had budget baseline beyond the end of the farm bill in FY, while others did not. Those with continuing baseline essentially had built-in future funding if policy makers decided that the programs should continue. However, 37 programs that received mandatory funds during the farm bill were not assumed to continue from a budgetary perspective because they did not have a budgetary baseline beyond FY Notable programs among this March 11, — April 10, R Congress returns to the farm bill about every five years to establish an omnibus policy for food and agriculture.

Deficit reduction influenced the Agricultural Act of P. Related political dynamics sometimes forced Congress to make difficult choices concerning how much total support to provide for agriculture and nutrition, and how to allocate it among competing constituencies. The farm bill authorizes programs in two spending categories: Mandatory programs generally operate as December 14, — April 1, R This report discusses the sugar program that provides a price guarantee to the processors of sugarcane and sugar beets, and in turn, to the producers of both crops.

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Price Loss Coverage PLC payments, which are triggered when the national average farm price for a covered commodity e. Sugar Provisions of the Farm Bill P. June 19, — March 21, R The sugar program provides a minimum price guarantee to sugar crop processors and is structured to operate at no cost to the federal government using two tools: The sugar-to-ethanol program is intended to be used if marketing allotments and the Forestry Provisions in the Farm Bill P.

The Agricultural Act of P. The farm bill establishes agricultural and food policy for the next several years, and also addresses several aspects of federal forestry policy. Forestry provisions were included in the Forestry title Title VIII of the farm bill as well as in some of the other titles. The farm bill generally repeals, reauthorizes, and modifies existing forestry assistance programs and provisions June 18, — March 10, R The annual Agriculture appropriations bill provides funding for all of the U.

Trade and Implications for U. April 9, — February 26, RL Free trade areas FTAs are arrangements among two or more countries under which they agree to eliminate tariffs and nontariff barriers on trade in goods among themselves. However, each country maintains its own policies, including tariffs, on trade outside the region.

In the last few years, the United States has engaged or has proposed to engage in negotiations to establish bilateral and regional free trade arrangements with a number of trading partners. Such arrangements are not new in U. The United States has had a free trade arrangement with Israel since and with Emergency Water Assistance During Drought: Drought conditions often fuel congressional interest in federal assistance. While drought planning and preparedness are largely individual, business, local, and state responsibilities, some federal assistance is available to mitigate drought impacts.

While much of the federal assistance is targeted at mitigating impacts on the agricultural economy, other federal programs are authorized to provide non-agricultural water assistance. Interest in these non-agricultural programs often increases as communities, households, and businesses experience shrinking and less reliable water supplies Framework, Scope, and Magnitude.

April 15, — February 21, RL The ties have also become more complex and interdependent, covering a growing number and type of trade and financial activities. May 23, — February 19, R Congress completed action on the FY regular appropriations bills with enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, P. Prior to enactment of P. The Farm Bill P. June 14, — February 12, R Congress periodically establishes agricultural and food policy in a multi-year, omnibus farm bill. The farm bill governed policy for farm commodity support, horticulture, livestock, conservation, nutrition assistance, trade and international food aid, agricultural research, farm credit, rural development, bioenergy, and forestry.

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It originally expired in , but the th Congress did not complete action and instead extended the law for one year P. Food fraud, or the act of defrauding buyers of food or ingredients for economic gain—whether they be consumers or food manufacturers, retailers, and importers—has vexed the food industry throughout history. Some of the earliest reported cases of food fraud, dating back thousands of years, involved olive oil, tea, wine, and spices. These products continue to be associated with fraud, along with some other foods.

Although the vast majority of fraud incidents do not pose a public health risk, some cases have resulted in actual or potential public health risks. Perhaps the most high-profile August 10, — January 7, RL Department of Agriculture USDA has numerous programs to support management of state and private forests. Both the House H. Both versions of the farm bill propose to repeal, reauthorize, and modify some of these programs June 20, — December 27, R Public and private research and development spurs scientific and technological advancement.

The federal government supports scientific and technological advancement by directly funding research and development and indirectly by creating Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: It also includes funding for arts and cultural agencies, the U. Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous other entities.

June 1, — December 5, R January 23, — November 22, R Federal policy has played a key role in the emergence of the U. Policy measures have included minimum renewable fuel usage requirements, blending and production tax credits, an import tariff, loans and loan guarantees, and research grants. One of the more prominent forms of federal policy support is the Renewable Fuel Standard RFS —whereby a minimum volume of biofuels is to be used in the national transportation fuel supply each year. This report describes the general nature of the RFS mandate and its implementation, and outlines some emerging issues related to the The federal government, primarily the Environmental Protection Agency EPA , administers a number of laws, largely through states and local agencies, established by Congress to protect human health and the environment.

Numerous congressional committees and subcommittees have jurisdiction over these environmental laws for purpose of authorization, appropriations, and oversight. Analysis of environmental policy issues requires an understanding of the impacts to, and from, various industries including coal, oil and gas, manufacturing, and agriculture resulting in overlapping policy issues May 2, — November 12, RS Renewable Energy Programs and the Farm Bill: September 7, — October 25, R Title IX, the energy title of the farm bill P.

USDA renewable energy programs have incentivized research, development, and adoption of renewable energy projects, including solar, wind, and anaerobic digesters. September 18, — October 22, R The th Congress has been considering an omnibus farm bill that would establish the direction of U. Among the many provisions being considered, both the Senate-passed S. September 28, — October 21, R Consequently, the th Congress has been considering an omnibus farm bill that would establish the direction of agricultural policy for the next five years. On June 10, , the Senate approved its version of the farm bill, S.

The House approved a farm bill H. Japan Joins the Trans-Pacific Partnership: What Are the Implications? August 24, — August 13, R The announcement came after a series of discussions on conditions for U. As a result of the discussions the two sides agreed on measures to address these issues as part of, and in parallel with, the Congress and the European Parliament: Evolving Transatlantic Legislative Cooperation.

December 30, — July 29, R The United States and the European Union EU share an extensive, dynamic, and mutually beneficial political and economic partnership. A growing element of that relationship is the role that the U. Congress and the European Parliament EP —a key EU institution—have begun to play, including in areas ranging from foreign and economic policy to regulatory reform. Proponents of establishing closer relations between the U. Horse Slaughter Prevention Bills and Issues. November 7, — June 28, RS In , two Texas plants and one in Illinois slaughtered nearly , horses for human food, mainly for European and Asian consumers.

In , court action effectively closed the Texas plants, and a ban in Illinois closed the plant in that state. Animal welfare activists and advocates for horses have continued to press Congress for a federal ban. April 19, — June 18, R Report that discusses the agricultural export programs that aim to develop overseas markets for U. April 27, — June 13, R Overview and Issues for Congress. On January 13, , President Obama asked Congress for authority to reorganize and consolidate, into one department, the business- and trade-related functions of six federal entities: Bills based on the proposal were introduced in the th Congress.

The President reiterated the proposal in his FY budget request, and he may resubmit his request for Causes and Issues for Congress. July 15, — April 22, RL Drought is a natural hazard with often significant societal, economic, and environmental consequences. Public policy issues related to drought range from how to identify and measure drought to how best to prepare for, mitigate, and respond to drought impacts, and who should bear associated costs.

Severe drought in and fueled congressional interest in near-term issues, such as current and recently expired federal programs and their funding, and long-term issues, such as drought forecasting and various federal drought relief and mitigation actions. January 23, — February 19, R In late October , Hurricane Sandy impacted a wide swath of the East Coast of the United States, resulting in more than deaths and the major disaster declarations for 12 states plus the District of Columbia.

Agricultural Conservation and the Next Farm Bill. January 17, — February 12, R Reauthorization of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of farm bill failed to pass in the th Congress, leaving it to the th Congress to continue the farm bill debate. The conservation title continues to receive attention and interest from farmers and ranchers as well as environmental and conservation organizations. Contentious issues raised in the farm bill debate might continue in the th Congress, specifically calls to reduce overall funding levels, including conservation, and the addition of crop insurance as a benefit lost under conservation compliance Selected Issues in the th Congress.

Animal agriculture is an important part of the U. These included cattle farms and ranches; cattle feedlots; dairies; Government Agencies Involved in Export Promotion: November 19, — January 31, R This report provides an overview of the federal government agencies that participate in U. The recent global economic downturn has renewed congressional debate over the role of the federal government in promoting exports. Some Members of Congress have placed greater priority on understanding the Concern over these large deficits, as well as the long-term trajectory of the federal budget, resulted in significant debate during the th Congress over how to achieve meaningful deficit reduction and how to implement a plan to stabilize the federal debt.

Numerous expiring provisions, across-the-board spending cuts, and other short-term considerations having a major budgetary impact, were scheduled to take effect at the very end of or in early The federal government plays a significant role in emergency management, which generally refers to activities associated with avoiding and responding to natural and human-caused hazards. Emergency management in the United States is highly decentralized and contextual in nature: In addition, the number and type of actors involved in an incident will vary tremendously depending on the context and severity of the event.

World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda. August 6, — November 15, RL The negotiations have been characterized by persistent differences among the United States, the European Union, and developing countries on major issues, such as agriculture, industrial tariffs and non-tariff barriers, services, and trade remedies. Partly as a result of being labeled a development round to entice developing countries to participate in the first place, developing countries including emerging economic powerhouses such as China, Brazil, and India have sought the The Farm Bill: A Comparison of Senate-Passed S.

May 30, — October 24, R The th Congress faces reauthorization of the current five-year farm bill the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of , P. The farm bill contained 15 titles covering farm commodity support, horticulture, livestock, conservation, nutrition assistance, international trade and food aid, agricultural research, farm credit, rural development, bioenergy, and forestry, among others.

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Interim Continuing Resolutions CRs: Potential Impacts on Agency Operations. October 6, — July 25, RL Continuing appropriations acts, often known as continuing resolutions CRs , have been a component of the annual appropriations process for decades. When Congress and the President do not reach final decisions about one or more regular appropriations acts by the beginning of the federal fiscal year, October 1, they often enact a CR. Two general types of CRs are used.

Water Resources and Water Quality: The following table provides names and contact information for CRS experts on policy areas relating to water quality and water resources. Several broad water resource and water quality policy areas are identified and include the following: It describes the criteria for federal land management agencies to consider in order to close federal lands to fishing, hunting, or recreational shooting, and directs that management is subject to existing law. However, some ambiguities may lead to different, perhaps unintended results.

Trends, Composition, Direction, and Policy. October 24, — May 21, Exports of high-value products e. Exports of bulk commodities Potential Qualifying Energy Sources. A clean energy standard CES has been identified as one possible legislative option to encourage a more diverse domestic electricity portfolio. A CES could require certain electricity providers to obtain a portion of their electricity from qualifying clean energy sources.

The RES has been a topic of legislative attention since at least the th Congress. The law 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. The breadth of farm bills has steadily grown in recent decades to June 30, — February 7, R On December 23, , Congress enacted H. October 12, — February 6, R The most recent WIC and child nutrition reauthorization, P. Subsequently, Congress plays an oversight role as the U.

Department of Agriculture promulgates rules, releases guidance, and otherwise implements the legislation. This report features a summary of the legislative history of P. Status of Discretionary Appropriations Legislation. November 10, — January 30, R This report presents an overview of proposed and enacted FY appropriations legislation. The report consists primarily of a table showing discretionary appropriations, by bill title, for each of the proposed and enacted appropriations bills, together with the comparable figures enacted for FY The figures do not necessarily reflect budget scorekeeping adjustments allowable under the Budget Control April 29, — January 12, R Forest management generally, as well as forest research and forestry assistance, have long been within the jurisdictions of the Agriculture Committees.

Although most forestry programs are permanently authorized, forestry has usually been addressed in the periodic farm bills to reauthorize many agriculture programs. Food Safety Issues for the th Congress. February 10, — January 9, R Horn of Africa Region: The Humanitarian Crisis and International Response. As a result of the worst drought in 60 years, regional conflicts, and conflict within states, a humanitarian emergency of massive proportion has unfolded over the past year in the Horn of Africa region.

Selected Federal Water Activities: Agencies, Authorities, and Congressional Committees

Current estimates suggest that more than Somalia has been hardest hit so far, creating population displacement within its borders and a refugee crisis of nearly 1 million people in the region, primarily in Kenya and Ethiopia. August 11, — December 19, R The Agriculture appropriations bill provides funding for all of the U. A Farm Bill Program Option: March 4, — December 16, R 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. Nitrous Oxide from Agricultural Sources: October 26, — December 7, R Reducing emissions from non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases, such as nitrous oxide N2O , could deliver short-term climate change mitigation results as part of a comprehensive policy approach to combat climate change. Nitrous oxide is times more potent than carbon dioxide in its ability to affect the climate; and moreover, results of a recent scientific study Status, Content, and Implications.

March 22, — November 15, R Preferential trade agreements PTAs comprise a variety of arrangements that favor member parties over nonmembers by extending tariff and other nontariff preferences. The main findings of this report are as follows. Legislative Proposals in the th Congress. The question of how federal policies deal with financial stress encountered by dairy farmers has led many in Congress to reconsider federal policy for supporting them.

In the th Congress, several Members have introduced legislation for alternatives to current federal programs, which expire in Proposed dairy legislation has the potential to eliminate some dairy programs, modify others, or replace them with a new approach to dairy farm support. The Dairy Security Act of H. Agriculture in Pending U. June 3, — October 6, R This report discusses pending U. The bills to implement these agreements will now be debated under trade promotion authority, or fast-track rules, designed to expedite congressional consideration.

The report includes an overview of agricultural issues regarding FTAs and pending FTA partners, as well as a closer breakdown of the specific issues for each of the countries. March 18, — September 12, R FY funding levels were not enacted in the th Congress. Thus, the debate over FY appropriations continued into the th Congress and FY spending proposals became a key focal point in the budget debates between the now-Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Obama Administration.

It has been updated to include the enacted FY appropriations in P. Livestock and Poultry Feed Use and Availability: Background and Emerging Issues. Since June feed cost increases have outpaced livestock price increases, squeezing the profitability of livestock and poultry producers. When profit margins turn unfavorable, producers are more likely to November 4, — July 29, R For the FY Agriculture appropriations bill, no separate floor action and limited formal committee action occurred in the th Congress. Economic Effects and Implications for the United States. The March 11, , earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan followed by the nuclear crisis are having a large negative impact on the economy of Japan but a lesser effect on world trade and financial markets.

Japan has lost considerable physical and human capital. In excess of 23, persons in Japan are killed or missing, and more than , homes and other buildings have been totally or partially damaged. The negative effects of the earthquake and tsunami have Managing price and income risks can be a major challenge for dairy farmers. In , the farm price of milk has rebounded from lows in , but the price of corn, a major feed ingredient, has reached record highs. The volatile nature of commodity markets presents opportunities for profits and losses when milk prices or feed costs change. In dairy and in agriculture generally, farm-level risk management tools are provided through both the private and the public sectors.

By using these tools, dairy producers transfer risk to either the private sector or the government through programs that Foreign Assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa: Aid to Africa more than quadrupled over the past decade, primarily due to sizable increases in global health spending during the Bush Administration and more measured increases in development, economic, and security assistance.

Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: Status and Current Issues. March 27, — May 19, RL Animal agriculture is being transformed by rapid advances in biotechnology—a term that encompasses a variety of technologies, including genetic engineering GE , genetic modification, transgenics, recombinant DNA techniques, and cloning, among others.

Producers are interested in the application of biotechnology to improve productivity, consistency, and quality; to introduce new food, fiber, and medical products; and to protect the environment. Potential human health applications of transgenic animals include producing biopharmaceuticals and generating organs, tissues, and cells for It also includes funding for arts and cultural agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous other entities. Humane Treatment of Farm Animals: November 19, — May 9, RS Animal welfare supporters in the United States have long sought legislation to modify or curtail some practices considered by U.

Members of Congress over the years have offered various bills that would affect animal care on the farm, during transport, or at slaughter; several proposals were introduced in the th Congress, although no further action was taken on the bills. No bills have been introduced in the th Congress. Members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees generally have expressed a preference for February 5, — May 9, R The Environmental Quality Incentives Program EQIP is a voluntary program that provides farmers with financial and technical assistance to plan and implement soil and water conservation practices.

EQIP is the largest agriculture conservation financial assistance program for working lands. It is a mandatory spending program i. The Committee also has jurisdiction over federal buildings, which includes the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Subcommittee on Highways and Transit The Subcommittee on Highways and Transit has responsibility for the development of national surface transportation policy, construction and improvement of highway and transit facilities, implementation of highway and transit safety programs and research activities, and regulation of commercial motor vehicle operations.

Within this scope of responsibilities, the Subcommittee has jurisdiction over many U. Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment The jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment consists generally of matters relating to water resources development, conservation and management, water pollution control and water infrastructure, and hazardous waste cleanup. Within this scope of authority, the Subcommittee has jurisdiction over all programs within the civil works and regulatory programs of the U.

Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources I serve as ranking member of this Subcommittee which oversees American energy production and mining on federal lands — both onshore and offshore — to ensure that they are developed in a safe and equitable manner so that U. Forests, public lands, and national monuments. What Is A Congressional Committee? The House of Representatives divides its work among over twenty permanent committees. Normally, before a piece of legislation is considered by the House it has been reviewed by at least one of the committees and a report is issued by that committee describing the legislation and indicating on section-by-section basis how the proposed statute changes existing statutes.

Congress divides its work among over two hundred committees and subcommittees, each of which issues regular reports on its activities. Types of Committees Standing committees are permanent panels which consider bills and issues and recommend measures for consideration. They also have oversight responsibility to monitor agencies, programs, and activities within their jurisdictions, and in some cases in areas that cut across committee jurisdictions.