Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment (10/03/1994)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Federal Crop Insurance Reform

Title II: Department of Agriculture Reorganization

Subtitle A: General Reauthorizaton Authorities

Subtitle B: Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services

Subtitle C: Rural Economic and Community Development

Subtitle D: Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services

Subtitle E: Natural Resources and Environment

Subtitle F: Research, Education, and Economics

Subtitle G: Food Safety

Subtitle H: National Appeals Division

Subtitle I: Miscellaneous Reorganization Provisions

Title III: Miscellaneous

Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 - Title I: Federal Crop Insurance Reform - Federal Crop Insurance Reform Act of 1994 - Amends the Federal Crop Insurance Act to eliminate the requirement that one of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation's (Corporation) appointments must be the Under Secretary or Assistant Secretary of Agriculture responsible for the Department of Agriculture's farm credit programs.

(Sec. 104) Authorizes the Corporation to: (1) settle and adjust any claims made by or against the Corporation; and (2) disqualify a person from purchasing catastrophic risk protection or receiving noninsured assistance for up to two years for willfully providing the Corporation or an insurer with false information.

Expresses the sense of the Congress in favor of the Corporation purchasing American-made equipment and products.

(Sec. 105) Directs the Corporation to establish a management-level position of Specialty Crops Coordinator.

(Sec. 106) Directs the Corporation to offer a catastrophic risk protection plan that would indemnify producers for loss in yield or prevented planting due to drought, flood, or other natural disaster. Provides coverage for potatoes (in addition to tobacco) beyond the period the crop is in the field.

Authorizes the Corporation to offer insurance to a producer where crop insurance is unavailable for a particular commodity.

Revises data collection and dissemination provisions.

Offers producers the option of individual-or area-based catastrophic coverage.

Authorizes coverage to be offered by: (1) private insurance carriers; or (2) Department of Agriculture (Department) local offices. Sets forth required fees and waivers.

Requires at least catastrophic coverage on each crop of economic significance in order for a producer to be eligible for price supports, production adjustments, or specified agricultural loans.

Provides transitional coverage for 1995 crops.

Directs the Corporation to offer insurance plans with greater than catastrophic coverage from approved private insurers (or from the Corporation if offered). Sets forth provisions regarding coverage levels, price levels, and price elections (including market-based price elections for classes of wheat and malting barley). Permits State premium subsidies.

Sets forth premium provisions for catastrophic and additional coverages. Requires specified Corporation-paid premium subsidies. Authorizes private insurer premium reductions.

Requires producers to apply either at local Department offices or to approved insurance providers.

Directs the Corporation to implement crop insurance underwriting rules that ensure that yield coverage is provided to all program participants. Authorizes an insured producer to choose individual or area yield coverage, or combined coverage, on a commodity-by-commodity basis. Establishes three-year transitional yields for feed or forage producers.

Directs the Corporation to offer: (1) a pilot cost of production risk protection plan for the 1996 and 1997 crop years which would indemnify producers for insured income losses; (2) additional prevented planting coverage beginning in the 1995 crop year; and (3) a 30-county pilot transitional yield program for new producers for the 1995 and 1996 crop years.

Authorizes the Corporation to provide for the adjustment and payment of loss claims.

Directs the Corporation to provide reinsurance to approved insurers.

Authorizes the Corporation to: (1) offer optional risk protection coverages; and (2) conduct research and pilot programs regarding crop insurance and agriculture-related risks.

(Sec. 107) Repeals crop insurance yield provisions.

(Sec. 108) Exempts Corporation insurance contracts from State and local taxation.

(Sec. 109) Authorizes the Secretary to establish within the Department an Advisory Committee for Federal Crop Insurance which shall remain in existence until September 30, 1998.

(Sec. 110) Authorizes separate appropriations for discretionary and mandatory expenses. Establishes a related insurance fund.

(Sec. 111) Directs the Corporation to establish a noninsured assistance program for food or fiber crops for which catastrophic risk protection is not offered. Includes within such category floricultural, ornamental nursery, and Christmas tree crops, turf grass sod, and industrial crops. Excludes livestock.

Requires: (1) qualifying losses to be from drought, flood, or other natural disaster; and (2) specified area yield losses in order for a producer to receive such assistance.

Limits: (1) individual annual payments to $100,000; (2) income for purposes of program eligibility; and (3) multiple benefits for the same loss.

(Sec. 114) Makes a person who has (knowingly) falsely obtained benefits under this title or who has evaded this title ineligible for catastrophic risk and noninsured assistance payments.

(Sec. 116) Sets forth 1994 prevented planting (including oilseeds) payment provisions.

(Sec. 117) Requires the Corporation to make specified reports on improvements in disseminating crop insurance information.

(Sec. 118) Requires the Comptroller General and the Corporation to evaluate and report on crop insurance providers.

(Sec. 119) Makes conforming amendments with regard to price support and Farmers Home Administration programs.

(Sec. 120) Makes the amendments made by this title effective upon enactment of this Act and applies them to the 1995 crop year.

Title II: Department of Agriculture Reorganization - Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 - Subtitle A: General Reorganization Authorities - Transfers to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) all functions of the Department of Agriculture (Department) not already vested in the Secretary, with specified exceptions. Grants the Secretary general delegation authority, with specified exceptions.

(Sec. 213)) Directs the Secretary to: (1) reduce the number of Department employees by at least 7500 by September 30, 1999; (2) combine field offices where practicable; and (3) consolidate Washington, D.C. headquarters offices.

(Sec. 218) Authorizes the Secretary to establish in the Department the positions of: (1) Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Congressional Relations; (2) Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Administration; and (3) Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

(Sec. 219) Prohibits any Department employee or officer pay increases as a result of enactment of this title.

Subtitle B: Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services - Authorizes the Secretary to establish in the Department the position of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services.

(Sec. 226) Authorizes the Secretary to establish in the Department a Consolidated Farm Service Agency which shall have jurisdiction over: (1) price and income support programs; (2) the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation; (3) certain agricultural credit programs; and (4) the agricultural conservation program, including initial appeals jurisdiction.

Provides for maximum collocation of county offices of the Consolidated Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

(Sec. 227) Amends the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act to revise State, county, and area committee provisions.

Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to eliminate Farmers Home Administration county committees.

Subtitle C: Rural Economic and Community Development - Authorizes the Secretary to establish in the Department the position of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Economic and Community Development to succeed the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Small Community and Rural Development.

Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to repeal statutory authority for the Rural Development Administration.

(Sec. 232) Provides for the establishment in the Department of: (1) the Rural Utilities Service; (2) the Rural Housing and Community Development Service; and (3) the Rural Business and Cooperative Development Service. Abolishes the Rural Electrification Administration. Makes conforming amendments.

Subtitle D: Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services - Authorizes the Secretary to establish in the Department the position of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services to succeed the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Food and Consumer Services.

Subtitle E: Natural Resources and Environment - Authorizes the Secretary to establish in the Department the position of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment to succeed the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment.

(Sec. 246) Authorizes the Secretary to establish within the Department a Natural Resources Conservation Service which shall have jurisdiction over: (1) the rural environmental conservation program; (2) the Great Plains Conservation Program; (3) the Water Bank Act; (4) the forestry incentive program; (5) certain land and wetlands conservation programs; (6) the Colorado River Basin salinity control program; and (7) the Farms for the Future Act of 1990.

Amends the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act to repeal statutory authority for the Soil Conservation Service.

(Sec. 247) Sets forth required elements for Forest Service reorganization proposals.

Subtitle F: Research, Education, and Economics - Authorizes the Secretary to establish in the Department the position of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics.

Establishes in the Department a Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.

Subtitle G: Food Safety - Establishes within the Department the position of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety.

(Sec. 262) Prohibits the Food and Drug Administration from implementing a specified final rule to alter the permitted amount of selenium in animal diets without specified prior findings.

Subtitle H: National Appeals Division - Directs the Secretary to establish in the Department an independent National Appeals Division. Transfers to the Division all functions and pending appeals relating to: (1) the National Appeals Division established by the Agricultural Act of 1949; (2) the National Appeals Division established by the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act; (3) Federal Crop Insurance Corporation appeals; and (4) Soil Conservation Service appeals.

(Sec. 282) Amends the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987 to expand issues covered by State mediation programs. Extends authorization of appropriations.

(Sec. 283) Authorizes appropriations to carry out activities of the Division.

Subtitle I: Miscellaneous Reorganization Provisions - Sets forth bargaining unit voluntary agreement successorship provisions.

(Sec. 296) Terminates, with specified exceptions, the Secretary's reorganization authority two years after eanctment of this Act.

Title III: Miscellaneous - Expresses the sense of the Congress that the Department should hold public hearings and finalize a decision with respect to "fresh" poultry labeling.

(Sec. 302) Prohibits the removal and requires the reinstatement of any Department employee who has made remarks on his or her personal time in opposition to Department policies regarding homosexuals.

(Sec. 303) Amends the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to prohibit reductions in the thrifty food plan below 1994 levels.

(Sec. 304) Directs the Secretary to establish in the Department an Office of Environmental Risk Assessment.

(Sec. 305) Directs the Secretary to make necessary adjustments to ensure equitable treatment of socially disadvantaged farmers with respect to: (1) acreage bases and program payment yields; and (2) application of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.

(Sec. 306) Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of Transportation to conduct an aircraft inspections study.