Issues Surrounding the Management of Agricultural Exports

ID-76-87: Published: May 2, 1977. Publicly Released: May 2, 1977.

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Interviews, questionnaires, and literature reviews were utilized in an attempt to describe and evaluate: (1) the circumstances surrounding the 1974 and 1975 grain purchases by the Soviet Union; (2) Agriculture's management of its export reporting system; (3) Agriculture's forecasting of foreign supply and demand; and (4) executive branch agricultural export policy and related issues.

Fundamental improvements are needed in the Nation's food export machinery. The Department of Agriculture's export reporting system needs to provide accurate and timely data on exports; a necessary input if the effects on domestic supply and price are to be minimized. Current elements of export policy need to be more complete and cohesive, and they need to provide the flexibility necessary to meet both domestic and international objectives as well as changing food supply and demand situations. Export policy implementation needs more coordination, cohesion, and better timing.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

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    Matter: The Congress should enact legislation providing for an improved export reporting system that will function as an effective early-warning system. Congress should also establish a food export policy that protects the interests of both producers and consumers, while simultaneously providing an effective policy mechanism for surplus and shortage market conditions. That policy should also clarify the Government's position on grain sales to nonmarket economies, including the desirability of such mechanisms as long-term agreements and government-to-government negotiations. The question of a national grain reserve, the role of multinational grain exporters in U.S. marketing, and the role that could be played in grain exporting by U.S. grain cooperatives should also be considered by the Congress.


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