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Public Law (08/10/1973)

(LATEST SUMMARY)

Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act - Provides that the total amount of payments which a person shall be entitled to receive under titles IV, V and VI of the Agricultural Act of 1970 for 1974-1977 crops shall not exceed $20,000.

Provides, under the Agricultural Adjustment Act, that if one-third or more of the producers, as defined in a milk order, apply in writing for a hearing on a proposed amendment of such order, the Secretary of Agriculture shall call such a hearing.

States that upon enactment of this Act and ending on March 31, 1975, the price of milk shall be supported at not less than 80 percent of the parity price. Extends through 1977 the transfer of dairy products to the military and to veterans hospitals. Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out a study to determine the effect upon domestic diary producers, handlers, and processors and consumers of increases in the level of imports, if any, of dairy products and report his findings, and recommendations, to the Congress.

Defines the legal status of produce handlers of milk.

Extends price supports for the wool program through 1977. Provides that loans and purchases on each crop of wheat shall be made available on such level as the Secretary determines appropriate, taking into consideration competitive world prices, the feeding value of wheat in relation to feed grains, and the level at which price support is made available for feed grains. States that in no event shall such level be in excess of the parity price for wheat or less than $1.37 per bushel. Enumerates changes to that portion of the Agricultural Adjustment Act relating to the set-aside program.

Sets forth the procedures for farm acreage alltoment for each crop of wheat, including county apportionment, the factors determining allotment, acreage adjustments, and the condition of allotment reduction.

States that specified provisions of the Agricultural Adjustment Act dealing with marketing certificate requirements for processors and exporters shall not be applicable to wheat processed or exported during the period July 1, 1973 through June 30, 1978. Provides for the suspension of wheat marketing quotas through 1977. Provides that the Secretary may authorize release of wheat stored by a producer under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended, prior to the 1971 crop, whenever he determines such release will not significantly affect market prices for wheat.

Prescribes specified provisions, relating to the feed grain program, which shall be effective only with respect to the 1974 through 1977 crops of feed grains, including: (1) that the Secretary shall make available to producers loans and purchases on each crop of corn at such level, not less than $1.10 per bushel nor in excess of 90 percent of the parity price therefor, as the Secretary determines will encourage the exportation of feed grains and not result in excessive total stocks of feed grains in the United States; and (2) that the Secretary shall make available to producers loans and purchases on each crop of barley, oats, and rye, respectively, at such level as the Secretary determines is fair and reasonable in relation to the level that loans and purchases are made available for corn.

Provides for the suspension of marketing quotas for cotton. Requires that the national base acreage allotment of cotton for the 1974 through 1977 crops shall not be less than eleven million acres.

Provides cotton production incentives under the Agricultural Act of 1949. Defines the formula under which payments shall be made for each crop of cotton to the producers on each farm.

Extends the Commodity Credit Corporation sales price restriction for cotton through 1978. Authorizes the Secretary to carry out programs to eliminate cotton boll weevils in infested areas of the United States. Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) issue such regulations as necessary to enforce such provisions with respect to achieving the compliance of producers and landowners who are not receiving benefits from any program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture; and (2) to cooperate with the Government of Mexico in carrying out operations in Mexico which he deems necessary to prevent the movement into the United States from Mexico of any insects eradicated under the provisions of this Act.

Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct: (1) a cost of production study of the wheat, feed grain, cotton, and dairy commodities under the various production practices and establish a current national weighted average cost of production; (2) to carry out a comprehensive study to determine the reasons for the extensive loss of livestock sustained each year, through injury and disease, while such livestock is being transported in interstate commerce; and (3) in order to reduce fertilizer and herbicide usage in excess of production needs and to develop wheat and feed grain varieties more susceptible to complete fertilizer utilization and to carry out regional and national research programs. Authorizes appropriations for the purposes of carrying out such research programs.

Requires all exporters of wheat and wheat flour, feed grains, oil seeds, cotton and products thereof, and other commodities to report specified information to the Secretary of Agriculture on a weekly basis.

Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to establish, maintain, and dispose of a separate reserve of inventories of not to exceed 75 million bushels of wheat, feed grains, and soybeans for the purpose of alleviating distress caused by a natural disaster. States that the Secretary is also authorized to dispose of such commodities only for: (1) use in relieving distress, (a) in any State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, or the Virgin Islands, and (b) in connection with any major disaster determined by the President to warrant assistance by the Federal Government; or (2) for use in connection with a state of civil defense emergency as proclaimed by the President or by concurrent resolution of the Congress. Authorizes to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for carrying out such purposes.

Provides that the Secretary of Agriculture shall assist farmers, processors, and distributors in obtaining such prices for agricultural products that an orderly, adequate and steady supply of such products will exist for the consumers of this nation. Directs the Secretary, under the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, to make grants to eligible volunteer fire departments for up to 50 percent of the cost of firefighting equipment needed by such departments and for the cost of the training necessary to enable such departments to use such equipment efficiently.

Directs the Secretary to carry out specified provisions of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act and the Water Bank Act by entering into contracts of three, five, ten, or twenty-five years with eligible owners and operators of land having such control as the Secretary determines to be needed on the farms, ranches, wetlands, forests, or other lands covered thereby.

Requires eligible landowners and operators for contracts to furnish to the Secretary a plan of farming operations or land use. Incorporates such practices and principles as may be determined by him to be practicable and which outlines a schedule of proposed measures which are to be carried out on the farm, ranch, wetland, forest, or other land during the contract period to protect such land, its wildlife, and nearby populace and communities from erosion, deterioration, pollution by natural and manmade causes or to insure an adequate supply of timber and related forest products.

States that in return for such agreement by the landowner or operator the Secretary shall agree to make payments in appropriate circumstances for the use of land maintained for conservation purposes as set forth in this title, and share the cost of carrying out those conservation practices and measures set forth in the contract.

Provides that the Secretary of Agriculture shall appoint an advisory board in each State to advise the State committee of that State regarding the types of conservation measures that should be approved to effectuate the purposes of this title. Provides that the Secretary of Agriculture, through the establishment of a national advisory board to be named in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, shall seek the advice and assistance of the appropriate officials of the several States in developing the programs under this title.

Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to develop and carry out a forestry incentives program to encourage the development, management, and protection of nonindustrial private forest lands. Authorizes to be appropriated annually such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this title.

States that, for purposes of the Food Stamp Act, the term 'able-bodied adult person' shall not include any narcotics addict or alcoholic who regularly participates, as a resident or nonresident, in any drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program.

Provides that the Secretary may also establish temporary emergency food stamp program standards of eligibility for the duration of an emergency, without regard to income and other financial resources, for households that are the victims of a mechanical disaster which disrupts the distribution of coupons, and for households that are victims of a disaster which disrupted commercial channels of food distribution.

States that members of an eligible household who are sixty years of age or over or elderly persons and their spouses may also use coupons issued to them to purchase meals prepared by senior citizens' centers, apartment buildings occupied primarily by elderly persons, any public or nonprofit private school which prepares meals especially for elderly persons, any public or nonprofit private eating establishment which prepares meals especially for elderly persons during special hours, and any other public or nonprofit private establishment approved for such purpose by the Secretary.

Provides that members of eligible households living in the State of Alaska shall be permitted, in accordance with such rules and regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, to purchase hunting and fishing equipment for the purpose of procuring food for the household except firearms, ammunition, and other explosives, with coupons issued under this Act if the Secretary determines that: (1) such households are located in an area of the State which makes it extremely difficult for members of such households to reach retail food stores; and (2) such households depend to a substantial extent on hunting and fishing for subsistence purposes.

Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture, under the Commodity Distribution Program, until July 1, 1974: (1) to use specified funds, without regard to the provisions of existing law governing the expenditure of public funds, for agricultural commodities and their products of the types customarily purchased for donation to maintain the annually programmed level of assistance for schools, domestic relief distribution, and such other domestic food assistance programs as are authorized by law; and (2) if stocks of the Commodity Credit Corporation are not available, to use the funds of the Corporation to purchase agricultural commodities and the products thereof of the types customarily available under the Agricultural Act of 1949 to meet such requirements.