Materials on U.S. Agriculture Policy
Congressional Research Service Reports
Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports on food and agriculture are found at NationalAgLawCenter.org, the website of the National Agricultural Law Center. The CRS is the public policy research arm of Congress. It provides nonpartisan research on legislative issues as requested by members of Congress. This collection covers the most recent versions of reports originally issued or updated in 2001 to present.
United States Farm Bills
The National Agricultural Law Center's United States Farm Bills page provides the text of farm bills from the first one in 1933 to the present, analysis of recent farm bills, related documents, and links to other important farm bill resources.
Governmental Accountability Office Reports and Testimony
Part of the legislative branch, the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) conducts audits, investigations, and studies of federal programs and activities. It also establishes standards for federal government programs and activities. One can browse reports by topic, agency, and date or search by keyword. The advanced search permits searching by keyword in document, title, summary and/or subject for a specific date range back to 1970. A list of agriculture and food reports for any date range back to 1970 can be accessed here by selecting Agriculture and Food and entering the date range.
USDA Economic Research Service Briefing Rooms
These briefing rooms are devoted to agricultural economic policy issues and topics. Each provides a brief overview, relevant USDA publications and data sets, and links to related briefing rooms.
Agricultural and Food Law Reading Rooms
The National Agricultural Law Center provides reading rooms on over forty topics relating to agricultural and food law. These include biotechnology, food safety, international trade, farm commodity programs, and farm conservation programs. Each reading room provides an overview; links to laws, regulations, and cases; links to relevant Center research; links to reference resources from the USDA and other federal government agencies; and links to other resources.
Legislative and Government Relations: Annotated Briefing Documents on U.S. Agriculture Policy, 1995-2002
Table of Contents
- Trends in U.S. Agriculture, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Services
- Agriculture Policy and Farm Bill Briefing Book
- Food and Agricultural Policy: Taking Stock for the New Century
- Congressional Research Service Report for Congress: RS20765: Agriculture: Prospective Issues for the 107th Congress
- Congressional Research Service Issue Brief for Congress: IB96030: Soil and Water Conservation Issues
- The Executive Committee of US Agricultural Experiment Station Directors: Science Roadmap for Agriculture
- The Extension System: A Vision for the 21st Century: A Resource Document
- Returning to Our Roots: Executive Summaries of the Reports of the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land Grant Universities
- UNEP Synthesis GEO-3: Globel Environmental Outlook 3: Past, Present and Future Perspectives
This website highlights changes in US agriculture that have taken place in the past century. Several factors have resulted in a reduction of the US labor force working and/or living on farms, causing the health of rural economies to suffer. Productivity gains have taken place without the need to commit additional resources to the production process, due to availability and adoption of new or improved technologies. Economic realities in the farm sector required operators to improve resource management for more efficiency, and to market products more effectively. While they have fluctuated considerably, agricultural prices farmers receive for their production have gone down over the entire century, compared with the costs associated with producing agricultural commodities. US farmers and ranchers began to rely more heavily on export markets to sell excess production.
What is in store for the future?
- Specialization and growth in sustainable agriculture, organic farming, niche farming, and direct marketing
- Genetic engineering to lower costs, improve productions and promote environmentally-friendly practices
- Biobased energy products as alternatives to petroleum
- Increased use of technology, such as computers and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), in production and marketing of commodities
Agriculture Policy and Farm Bill Briefing Book (Updated June 2001)
Federal agricultural and food policies are governed by several different laws, many of which are considered, revised, and renewed through an omnibus, multi-year "farm bill." Some of the items addressed by The Farm Bill include but are not limited to:
- Farm income and price support systems
- Agricultural trade and foreign food aid
- Conservation and environment
- Domestic food assistance
- Rural development
- Research and education
Food and Agricultural Policy: Taking Stock for the New Century (September 2001)
This page is the table of contents for this publication. The full text if viewable from here in Adobe Acrobat. Information for ordering a paper copy of the document is at the bottom of the page. In addition to access to the full text, this page features access to press releases about the report and testimony regarding the report as well as access to the full text of the prepared testimony. This page also provides links to other USDA pages.
Key issues addressed in this document include:
- The responsiveness of current policy to low commodity prices and farm income
- Factors influencing low prices
- Options for improving prices and/or providing automatic relief to farmers when prices fall
- Increased concentration in the agricultural industry, trade, and environmental regulations affecting agriculture
- Food safety
- Most recent developments in soil and water conservation
- Background and analysis
- Current Major Conservation Activities
- Congressional hearings, reports and documents
This documents addresses ways to meet the needs of diverse stakeholder groups, and identifies seven challenges to meeting our nation's agricultural goals:
- Be competitive in a global economy
- Add value to our future harvests
- Adjust agriculture practices to a changing climate
- Be good stewards of the environment and natural resources
- Make our agricultural enterprises profitable
- Make our families and communities strong
- Improve foods and processing for better health and safety
This document reflects the background research and deliberations of the Extension Vision for the 21st Century Committee. This comprehensive report offers background material in support of strategic planning at the Extension System and organization levels.
Issues addressed include, among others:
- Challenges for Extension
- Mission and vision
- The case for a broader agenda
- Information technology
- Examples of effective Extension programs
The UNEP Global Environment Outlook (GEO) project was initiated in response to the environmental reporting requirements of Agenda 21 and to a UNEP Governing Council decision of May 1995 which requested the production of a comprehensive global state of the environment report. GEO-3 provides an overview of the main environmental developments over the past three decades, and how social, economic and other factors have contributed to the changes that have occurred.
- State of the environment and policy responses, 1972–2002
- Human vulnerability to environmental change
- Outlook 2002–2032
- Options for action