Food and Agriculture Issues

OCG-93-15TR: Published: Dec 1, 1992. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed major federal policy, management, and program issues facing Congress and the new administration in the areas of food and agriculture.

GAO found that: (1) since 1988, fiscal pressures have enhanced the importance of reforming farm credit and risk protection, as well as coordinating federal programs for ensuring food safety and quality; (2) the Department of Agriculture (USDA) needs to simplify and streamline its organization to become more accessible and responsive to its highly diverse clients; (3) the 1985 and 1990 farm bills moved U.S. agriculture towards a greater market orientation, helping to make U.S. farm commodities more competitive in the marketplace; (4) several USDA programs aimed at providing loans, crop insurance, and disaster assistance to farmers expose the federal government to high risks of large financial losses; (5) many of the federal assistance programs target the agricultural sector even though farming is no longer a major economic base for many rural communities; and (6) there are consistently documented structural flaws in the federal government's food safety system.

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