Agriculture and Food:

Farm Bill Issues

RCED-95-93R: Published: Feb 21, 1995. Publicly Released: Feb 21, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO summarized the major issues that the food and agriculture sector would like to see incorporated into the 1995 farm bill. GAO noted that: (1) the proposed changes to the farm bill involved environment and conservation, commodity programs, agricultural trade, and research and education; (2) many survey respondents believed that the Conservation Reserve Program needed to be continued even though its budget may need to be reduced; (3) many respondents advocated eliminating of the Export Enhancement Program because of its high cost and ineffectiveness, moving commodity programs towards greater market orientation, and targeting farm subsidies to small or medium size farms; (4) several respondents believed that the Market Promotion Program's funding should be increased, since the program contributed to significant increases in exports; (5) a majority of the respondents suggested that the current federal investment in research and education is inadequate to meet future needs for food, fiber, and conservation; (6) the respondents believed there was a critical need to increase federal competitive grants and formula funds for basic and applied research; and (7) the respondents believed that the major changes to the 1995 farm bill should be phased in over time to reduce any adverse impacts.

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