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Archive for the ‘food and agriculture’ Category

EU Expenditure On Animal And Plant Health And A Safe Food Chain

May 12, 2015 Comments off

EU Expenditure On Animal And Plant Health And A Safe Food Chain
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The agri-food sector plays a significant role in the EU’s economy, employing close to 50 million people. EU expenditure on ‘food and feed’ aims to contribute to safety along the food chain, mainly by preventing, controlling and eradicating serious pests and diseases, in animals or plants, and strengthening related controls. Key objectives include safeguarding public health and consumers as well as animal and plant health, and protecting the value of economic sectors related to the food chain.

Policy Basics: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

May 4, 2015 Comments off

Policy Basics: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, popularly known as WIC, provides nutritious foods, counseling on healthy eating, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals to more than 8 million low-income women, infants, and children at nutritional risk.

Infants and very young children can face lifelong cognitive and health consequences if they don’t get adequate nourishment. WIC aims to ensure that pregnant women get the foods they need to deliver healthy babies and that those babies are well-nourished as they grow into toddlers.

An extensive body of research over the last few decades shows that WIC works. WIC participation contributes to healthier births, more nutritious diets, improved infant feeding practices, less anemia, and more preventive health care.

Safeguarding biological diversity: EU policy and international agreements

April 24, 2015 Comments off

Safeguarding biological diversity: EU policy and international agreements
Source: European Parliament Think Tank

Biodiversity, the diversity of life on earth at all levels, is declining, mainly as a result of human-induced pressures such as over-exploitation of natural resources, loss of viable habitats, pollution, climate change or invasive alien species. EU biodiversity policy is based on the Birds and Habitats Directives, which served as the basis for the development of the Natura 2000 network of protected sites now covering 1 million square kilometres on land (or 18% of EU land area) and 250 000 square kilometres of marine sites. The policy is driven by the biodiversity strategy setting ambitious aims for 2020 (halting the loss of biodiversity) and 2050 (protecting and valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services), with the addition of a strategy on green infrastructure. The European Commission estimates that the Natura 2000 network delivers benefits worth between €200 and €300 billion per year, against management costs estimated at €5.8 billion per year. The LIFE Programme co-finances some measures related to biodiversity, especially as regards Natura 2000. Funding aimed at protecting biodiversity is also available under the agricultural, regional, fisheries, and research policies. The European Parliament has long been supportive of EU biodiversity protection policy. Developments in EU biodiversity policy include a process of ‘biodiversity proofing’ of the EU budget, improved monitoring, definition of priorities for the restoration of degraded ecosystems, ‘biodiversity offsetting’ of unavoidable residual impacts, and a ‘fitness check’ of EU nature legislation.

CRS — Major Agricultural Trade Issues in the 114th Congress (February 10, 2015)

April 22, 2015 Comments off

Major Agricultural Trade Issues in the 114th Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

Trade, including agricultural trade, is clearly on the national agenda in the 114th Congress. The United States is engaged in negotiating two large regional trade agreements—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) among 12 Pacific-facing nations, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the European Union. These agreements hold the potential to expand foreign markets for U.S. farmers and food processors by eliminating, or substantially lowering, tariffs and restrictive quotas around certain commodities, such as rice and pork in Japan, or by dismantling supply management programs that protect poultry, eggs, and dairy in Canada. Also on the negotiating agenda are non-tariff trade barriers, including certain sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures that governments employ to safeguard human, animal, and plant health, but which may also be used to deter imports. Geographic Indications (GI) that restrict the use of common names for certain agricultural products and can thereby impede trade in U.S. farm products are on the agenda of U.S. negotiators in both TPP and T-TIP. At the global level, further liberalization of agricultural trade is an objective of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), but those talks have effectively stalled.

CRS — Domestic Food Assistance: Summary of Programs (February 4, 2015)

April 22, 2015 Comments off

Domestic Food Assistance: Summary of Programs (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

Over the years, Congress has authorized and the federal government has administered programs to provide food to the hungry and to other vulnerable populations in this country. This report offers a brief overview of hunger and food insecurity along with the related network of programs. The report is structured around three main tables that contain information about each program, including its authorizing language, administering agency, eligibility, services provided, participation data, and funding information. In between the tables, contextual information about this policy area and program administration is provided that may assist Congress in tracking developments in domestic food assistance. This report provides a bird’s-eye view of domestic food assistance and can be used both to learn about the details of individual programs as well as compare and contrast features across programs.

CRS — Farm Credit System (February 3, 2015)

April 22, 2015 Comments off

Farm Credit System (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

The Farm Credit System (FCS) was created to provide a permanent, reliable source of credit to U.S. agriculture. When Congress enacted the Federal Farm Loan Act in 1916, credit often was unavailable or unaffordable in rural areas. Many lenders avoided farm loans due to the inherent risks of agriculture. Statutory authority is in the Farm Credit Act of 1971, as amended (12 U.S.C. 2001 et seq.). Comprehensive changes were enacted in the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987.

The FCS is authorized by statute to lend to farmers, ranchers, and harvesters of aquatic products. Loans may also be made to finance the processing and marketing activities of these borrowers, for home ownership in rural areas, certain farm- or ranch-related businesses, and agricultural, aquatic, and public utility cooperatives.

FCS is a commercial for-profit lender and is not a lender of last resort. Borrowers must meet creditworthiness requirements similar to those of a commercial lender. FCS has “young, beginning, and small” (YBS) farmer lending programs, but without targets or mandates.

The FCS holds nearly 41% of the farm sector’s total debt (slightly higher than the nearly 40% share of commercial banks) and has the largest share of farm real estate loans (46%).

Where Do Americans Usually Shop for Food and How Do They Travel To Get There? Initial Findings from the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey

April 21, 2015 Comments off

Where Do Americans Usually Shop for Food and How Do They Travel To Get There? Initial Findings from the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This report compares food shopping patterns of (1) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households to nonparticipant households, (2) participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) to nonparticipants, and (3) food-insecure to food-secure households.

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