Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (04/22/1998)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Priorities, Scope, Review, and Coordination of

Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education

Title II: Reform of Existing Agricultural Research,

Extension, and Education Authorities

Subtitle A: Smith-Lever Act and Hatch Act of 1887

Subtitle B: Competitive, Special, and Facilities

Research Grant Aid

Subtitle C: National Agricultural Research, Extension,

and Teaching Policy Act of 1977

Subtitle D: Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade

Act of 1990

Subtitle E: Other Laws

Title III: Extension or Repeal of Agricultural Research,

Extension, and Education Authorities

Title IV: New Agricultural Research, Extension, and

Education Authorities

Title V: Agricultural Program Adjustments

Subtitle A: Food Stamp Program

Subtitle B: Information Technology Funding

Subtitle C: Crop Insurance

Title VI: Miscellaneous Provisions

Subtitle A: Existing Authorities

Subtitle B: New Authorities

Subtitle C: Studies

Subtitle D: Senses of Congress

Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 - Amends specified Acts to make their common names (Smith-Lever Act and the Hatch Act of 1887) their official titles.

Title I: Priorities, Scope, Review and Coordination of Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education - Directs the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) to: (1) ensure that agricultural research, education, or extension activities of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) are priority concerns with a national, multistate, or regional significance; and (2) establish such priorities.

(Sec. 103) Directs the Secretary to provide for: (1) scientific peer review of research grants and merit review of extension and education grants by CSREES; and (2) scientific peer review of ARS research.

Requires pre-funding merit review of land grant college and university research and extension activities. Makes related amendments to the Smith-Lever Act and the Hatch Act of 1887.

(Sec. 104) Amends such Acts to set forth multistate project requirements for research and extension funding.

(Sec. 106) Amends the Research Facilities Act and the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act to provide for multistate or national activities.

Title II: Reform of Existing Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Authorities - Subtitle A: Smith-Lever Act and Hatch Act of 1887 - Amends the Smith-Lever Act to authorize 1994 Institutions (as defined in this Act) to administer extension activities through cooperative agreements with land grant colleges (including Tuskegee University) in any State.

(Sec. 202) Directs the Secretary to develop extension and research activity protocols.

(Sec. 203) Revises matching fund requirements under such Acts.

(Sec. 204) Amends the Hatch Act of 1887 to obligate funding for research and extension integration.

Subtitle B: Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act - Amends the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act with respect to competitive grants to: (1) extend eligibility to national laboratories; and (2) authorize matching requirement waiver for certain smaller college or university equipment acquisitions.

(Sec. 212) Amends the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Act with respect to special grants to: (1) reduce grant duration from five years to three years; and (2) require scientific peer review for research activities and merit review for extension and education activities.

Subtitle C: National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 - Amends the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 to provide for equal representation of public and private sector members on the National Agricultural Research and Extension Users Advisory Board. Limits annual Board expenses.

(Sec. 223) Authorizes the Secretary to maintain a national food and agricultural education information system.

(Sec. 225) Provides, with respect to 1890 land grant colleges, for: (1) revision of extension and research plans of work provisions; and (2) development of protocols to evaluate multistate and multi-institutional programs.

(Sec. 226) Establishes a phased-in matching funds requirement beginning with FY 2000 for 1890 land grant colleges, including Tuskegee University. Requires each institution to report to the Secretary by September 30, 1999, identifying non-Federal fund sources.

Changes specified references to Tuskegee Institute to Tuskegee University.

(Sec. 227) Includes "teaching" within such Act's international research and extension activities.

Authorizes competitive grants for collaborative projects between U.S. scientists, university scientists, and universities and scientists from foreign agricultural research centers, including the international research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research.

(Sec. 228) Authorizes the Secretary to provide for an agricultural research and development program with the United States-Mexico Foundation for Science.

(Sec. 229) Authorizes the Secretary to make competitive grants for international agricultural science and education programs. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations.

(Sec. 230) Places a specified limit on indirect costs for agricultural research, education, and extension programs.

(Sec. 231) Makes all colleges and universities eligible for agricultural research, extension, and education cost-reimbursable agreements.

Subtitle D: Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 - Amends the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 to direct the Secretary to conduct an Agricultural Genome Initiative with respect to agriculturally important species. Authorizes related grants and cooperative agreements on a matching fund basis.

(Sec. 242) Authorizes the Secretary to make grants on a matching fund basis for high-priority research and extension initiatives regarding: (1) brown citrus aphid and citrus tristeza control; (2) ethanol; (3) aflatoxin in the feed and food chains; (4) mesquite production; (5) prickly pear genetic selection and processing; (6) deer ticks and Lyme disease transmission; (7) red meat safety; (8) grain sorghum ergot; (9) peanut marketing; (10) dairy financial risk management; (11) cotton; (12) methyl bromide; (13) potatoes; (14) wood use; (15) low-bush blueberry marketing; (16) wetlands; (17) wild pampas grass control; (18) food safety; (19) agricultural financial risk management; (20) ornamental tropical fish and aquatic plants; (21) sheep scrapie genetics; (22) nonnative insect control, including gypsy moth control; (23) forest resources; and (24) tomato spotted wilt control.

Directs the Secretary to establish a fire ant control task force and make related project grants.

Authorizes the Secretary to make grants for formosan termite control research and eradication projects.

Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations for activities under this subtitle.

(Sec. 243) Authorizes the Secretary to make grants on a matching fund basis for nutrient management research and extension projects regarding: (1) animal waste and odor management; (2) water quality and aquatic ecosystems; (3) rural and urban interface; (4) animal feed; and (5) alternative uses of animal waste. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations.

(Sec. 244) Authorizes the Secretary to make grants on a marching fund basis for organic agriculture research and extension projects. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations.

(Sec. 245) Authorizes the Secretary to award a grant to A*DEC (distance education consortium) to administer the agricultural telecommunications program.

(Sec. 246) Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations for the assertive technology program for farmers with disabilities. Obligates up to 15 percent of such funds for national grants.

Subtitle E: Other Laws - Amends the Equity in Education Land-Grant Status Act of 1994 to include the Little Priest Tribal College within the group of 1994 Institutions. Requires Institutions to be accredited or working towards accreditation in order to be eligible for funding. Authorizes research grant eligibility. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations.

(Sec. 252) Amends the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 to provide specified funding through October 1, 2002, for the Fund for Rural America.

(Sec. 253) Amends the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Research Act of 1978 to: (1) authorize the Secretary to conduct high priority forestry and rangeland research and education activities; (2) authorize the Secretary to cooperate with New Hampshire, New York, Maine, Vermont, and entities within such States, to coordinate agricultural research, extension, and education activities; (3) direct the Secretary to establish a forest inventory and analysis program, including a strategic implementation plan; and (4) authorize obligation of specified competitive grant funds for high priority forestry and rangeland research.

Title III: Extension or Repeal of Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Authorities - Amends the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 to extend program authority or authorization of appropriations through FY 2002 for: (1) grants and fellowships for food and agricultural sciences education; (2) grants for research on the production and marketing of alcohols and industrial hydrocarbons from agricultural commodities and forest products; (3) policy research centers; (4) human nutrition intervention and health promotion research program; (5) pilot research program to combine medical and agricultural research; (6) nutrition education program; (7) continuing animal health and disease research programs; (8) research on national and regional animal health or disease problems; (9) grants to upgrade agricultural and food sciences facilities at 1890 land-grant colleges, including Tuskegee University; (10) national research and training centennial centers; (11) education grants for Hispanic-serving institutions; (12) general agricultural research; (13) agricultural research at state agricultural experiment stations; (14) extension education; (15) research for supplemental and alternative crops; (16) building acquisition or construction; and (17) aquaculture.

Amends the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 to extend authorization of appropriations through FY 2002 for the: (1) National Genetics Resources Program; (2) agricultural telecommunications program; and (3) National Rural Information Center Clearinghouse.

Amends the Critical Agricultural Materials Act to extend authorization of appropriations through FY 2002 for critical agricultural materials.

Amends the Research Facilities Act to extend authorization of appropriations through FY 2002 for agricultural research facilities.

Amends the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act Amendments of 1985 to extend authorization of appropriations through FY 2002 for Federal agricultural research facilities.

Amends the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act to extend authorization of appropriations through FY 2002 for competitive, special, and facilities research grants.

Amends the Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994 to extend authorization of appropriations through FY 2002 for 1994 Institutions, including institutional capacity building grants.

Amends the Renewable Resources Extension Act of 1978 to extend authorization of appropriations through FY 2002 for forest and rangeland renewable resources activities.

Amends the National Aquaculture Act of 1980 to extend authorization of appropriations through FY 2002 for aquaculture activities of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior.

(Sec. 302) Amends the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 to repeal grant authority for aquaculture research programs at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia.

Amends the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act Amendments of 1981 to repeal the dairy goat research program.

Amends the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 to repeal authority for the: (1) water quality research, education, and coordination program; (2) livestock product safety and inspection program; and (3) national centers for agricultural product quality research.

Amends the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 to repeal authority for Department of Agriculture (Department) research, education, and extension activities.

Title IV: New Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Initiatives - Establishes in the Treasury the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems account to be used by the Secretary for matching grants to address critical emerging agricultural issues, including: (1) food safety; (1) agricultural genome; (3) natural resource management; (4) agricultural biotechnology; (5) alternative commodity production; and (6) farm profitability. Authorizes: (1) special eligibility consideration for smaller institutions; and (2) priority for multistate or multi-institutional projects, or projects that integrate research and education.

(Sec. 402) Authorizes the Secretary to make matching grants to eligible partnerships of land grant colleges and other academic or research institutions for high-value agricultural product research and extension activities in order to enhance U.S. commodity competitiveness and increase exports. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations.

(Sec. 403) Authorizes the Secretary to make matching grants to promote precision agriculture (as defined by this Act), including the encouragement of national and multistate precision agriculture partnerships. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations, with funds reserved for education and information projects, multidisciplinary research, and agricultural production systems research.

(Sec. 404) Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) enter into cooperative agreements with private entities to use the facilities and expertise of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to develop and commercialize new biobased products (products derived from forestry or renewable agricultural materials); and (2) carry out an ARS-based pilot project. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations.

(Sec. 405) Directs the Secretary to establish the Thomas Jefferson Initiative for Crop Diversification for the production and marketing of new and nontraditional crops. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations.

(Sec. 406) Authorizes the Secretary to establish an integrated research, education, and extension matching grant program. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations.

(Sec. 407) Authorizes the Secretary to carry out a research, extension, and education program to improve the viability of small and medium size dairy, livestock, and poultry operations.

(Sec. 408) Authorizes the Secretary to make a grant to a consortium of land grant colleges and universities for a multistate wheat scab research project. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations.

Title V: Agricultural Program Adjustments - Subtitle A: Food Stamp Program - Amends the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to reduce FY 1999 and 2000 employment and training program funding.

(Sec. 502) Limits State reimbursement for administering the food stamp program (program) based upon State reimbursement for common eligibility determination reimbursements under the program, Medicaid, and AFDC. Limits review and appeal of such reductions to administrative procedures (no judicial review).

(Sec. 503) Amends the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 to extend the program eligibility period for refugees and asylees from five years to seven years.

(Sec. 504) Provides program eligibility for specified: (1) disabled aliens; (2) Indians; (3) elderly individuals; (4) children; and (5) Hmong and Highland Laotians.

Subtitle B: Information Technology Funding - Amends the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to reduce information technology funding limits.

Subtitle C: Crop Insurance - Amends the Federal Crop Insurance Act to make authorization of appropriations permanent for Federal Crop Insurance Corporation discretionary expenses, including agent sales commissions. Makes permanent Corporation authority to pay expenses from the insurance fund, including a specified annual amount for research and development (exclusive of the dairy options pilot program).

(Sec. 532) Requires each producer to pay specified administrative fees for catastrophic risk protection and additional coverage. Revises related administrative cost reimbursement provisions for approved insurance providers and agents.

(Sec. 533) Directs the Corporation to establish and implement procedures for responding to regulatory inquiries.

(Sec. 534) Requires the Board of Directors of the Corporation to establish a time period for approval or disapproval of a new insurance policy submission.

(Sec. 535) Directs the Secretary to contract for a crop insurance study.

Title VI: Miscellaneous Provisions - Subtitle A: Existing Authorities - Amends the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to make specified fees available without appropriation for the organic accreditation program.

Amends Federal law to make specified fees available to the Secretary without appropriation for National Arboretum use.

Makes ARS patent culture collection fees available without appropriation to ARS for Patent Culture Collection use.

(Sec. 602) Amends the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1990 to direct the Secretary to establish in the Department an Office of Energy Policy and New Uses.

(Sec. 603) Amends the National Kiwifruit Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act to: (1) state that a marketing order amendment shall not require a referendum to become effective; and (2) provide for National Kiwifruit Board membership adjustment based upon domestic production and import levels.

Directs the Secretary to continue operation of the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database through university and college contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements.

(Sec. 605) Amends the Honey Research, Promotion, and Consumer Information Act to: (1) revise Honey Board membership provisions; (2) authorize a marketing order to establish purity and monitoring standards for honey and honey products; (3) authorize the Board to establish a voluntary quality assurance program; (4) obligate at least eight percent of assessments for research projects; (5) subject importers to assessment collection requirements and revise handler and producer-packer requirements; and (6) revise referendum provisions.

(Sec. 606) Makes technical amendments to the following Acts: (1) Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (supplemental and alternative crops research); (2) National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Science, Advisory Board, animal health and disease research, and rangeland research); (3) Food, Agriculture,Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (plant and animal pest and disease control); (4) Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (grants to upgrade 1890 institutions extension facilities); and (5) Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act (competitive and special grants).

Subtitle B: New Authorities - Directs the Secretary to periodically update nutrient composition data.

(Sec. 612) Authorizes the Secretary, acting through ARS, to accept as a gift and administer the National Swine Research Center in Ames, Iowa.

(Sec. 613) States that the Secretary shall be the principal executive official for coordinating Federal research and extension activities related to food and agricultural sciences.

(Sec. 614) Directs the Secretary to establish in the Department an Office of Pest Management Policy Which shall: (1) develop and coordinate Department policy on pest management and pesticides; (2) coordinate with other Federal and State agencies; and (3) provide outreach services. Authorizes FY 1999 through 2002 appropriations.

(Sec. 615) Directs the Secretary to: (1) establish a Food Safety Research Information Office at the National Agricultural Library; (2) sponsor a National Conference on Food Safety Research and four subsequent annual workshops; and (3) continue to develop a food handling education program to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.

(Sec. 617) Authorizes the Agricultural Marketing Service to reimburse the American Sheep Industry for certain marketing order expenses incurred under the Sheep Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1994.

(Sec. 618) Directs the Secretary to designate within the Department a Crisis Management Team.

(Sec. 619) Designates the Subtropical Agricultural Center in Weslaco, Texas, as the Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center.

Subtitle C: Studies - Directs the Secretary to: (1) evaluate whether federally funded agricultural research, education, and extension programs have national or multistate significance; and (2) request a National Academy of Sciences study of such programs' mission.

Subtitle D: Senses of Congress - Expresses the sense of the Congress that: (1) a substantial amount of ARS funds regarding methyl bromide alternatives should be used for research in real conditions, such as pre-planting and post-harvest conditions; and (2) the Secretary and the Secretary of Education should cooperate in providing school-based agricultural education.