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This report focuses on those policies contained in the 2008 farm bill (the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; P.L. 110-246) that support agriculture-based renewable energy, especially biofuels. The introductory sections briefly describe how these policies evolved and how they fit into the larger context of U.S. biofuels policy. Then, the policies specific to the 2008 farm bill are defined in terms of their function, goals, administration, funding, and implementation status. Finally, a section reviews the major emerging issues related to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) energy programs, particularly as related to their possible inclusion in the next farm bill.
This report examines the causes, consequences, and outlook for prices of the major U.S. program crops, and provides references for more detailed information.
Since the late 1970s, U.S. policymakers at both the federal and state levels have enacted a variety of incentives, regulations, and programs to encourage the production and use of agriculture-based biofuels. Initially, federal biofuels policies were developed to help kick-start the biofuels industry during its early development, when neither production capacity nor a market for the finished product was widely available. Federal policy has played a key role in helping to close the price gap between biofuels and cheaper petroleum fuels. Now, as the industry has evolved, other policy goals (e.g., national energy security, climate change concerns, support for rural economies) are cited by proponents as justification for continuing policy support. The U.S. biofuels sector has responded to these government incentives by expanding output ever...
Most of the provisions of the current farm bill, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246), do not expire until 2012. However, hearings on the 2012 farm bill have already begun. Congress is in the process of reviewing farm income and commodity price support proposals that might succeed the programs due to expire in 2012. A key question likely to be asked of virtually every new proposal is how it will affect U.S. commitments under the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (AA), which commits the United States to spend no more than $19.1 billion annually on domestic farm support programs most likely to distort trade. The AA spells out the rules for countries to determine whether their policies are potentially trade-distorting, and to calculate the costs. This report describes the steps for making these determinations.
This report reviews the evolution of the U.S. biofuels sector and the role that federal policy has played in shaping its development. In addition, it highlights emerging issues that are critical to the biofuels sector and of relevance to Congress.
This report provides a brief overview of Brazil's case against the U.S. cotton program, the evolution and current status of the case, and the potential role for Congress.
[Excerpt] The U.S. farm sector is vast and varied. It encompasses production activities related to traditional field crops (such as corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton) and livestock and poultry products (including meat, dairy, and eggs), as well as fruits, tree nuts, and vegetables. In addition, U.S. agricultural output includes greenhouse and nursery products, forest products, custom work, machine hire, and other farm-related activities. The intensity and economic importance of each of these activities, as well as their underlying market structure and production processes, vary regionally based on the agro-climatic setting, market conditions, and other factors. As a result, farm income and rural economic conditions may vary substantially across the United States. However, this report focuses singularly on aggregate national net farm in...
[Excerpt] The U.S. farm sector is vast and varied. It encompasses production activities related to traditional field crops (such as corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton), livestock and poultry products (including meat, dairy, and eggs), as well as fruits, tree nuts, and vegetables. In addition, U.S. agricultural output includes greenhouse and nursery products, forest products, custom work, machine hire, and other farm-related activities. The intensity and economic importance of each of these activities, as well as their underlying market structure and production processes, vary regionally based on the agro-climatic setting, market conditions, and other factors. As a result, farm income and rural economic conditions may vary substantially across the United States. However, this report focuses singularly on aggregate national net farm incom...
This report provides the highlights of 2013 farm income forecast. The report discusses farm asset values and debt, and average farm household income. It also provides annual figures regarding U.S. farms.
This report describes the major U.S. international food aid programs along with the related issues--including the Administration's reform proposals--currently before Congress.
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