Agricultural Exports and 2014 Farm Bill Programs: Background and Issues [August 25, 2014] [open pdf - 444KB]
From the report summary: "U.S. agricultural exports have long been a bright spot in the U.S. balance of trade, with exports exceeding imports in every year since 1960. The most recent forecast for FY2014 is that U.S. agricultural exports will reach a record high of $149.5 billion. U.S. agricultural imports are forecast to reach $110.5 billion in FY2014, resulting in a $39 billion agricultural trade surplus, which would rank second only to the FY2011 surplus of $42.9 billion. Exports are a major outlet for many farm commodities, in some cases absorbing over one-half of U.S. output. [...] The 2014 farm bill broke new ground in directing the Secretary of Agriculture to reorganize the export and import activities of the USDA, while creating a new Under Secretary of Agriculture position with the aim of coordinating the government's response to trade-related sanitary and phytosanitary issues affecting agricultural products, as well as nontariff trade barriers. Issues for Congress include determining the role and effectiveness of the public vs. private sector for investing in the development of new markets; monitoring the effect of policy changes in the farm bill on the Brazil WTO [World Trade Organization] case against U.S. cotton subsidies and possible implications for trade relations; and overseeing the Secretary's plans to reorganize USDA's trade-related functions."
CRS Report for Congress, R43696
National Agricultural Law Center: http:nationalaglawcenter.org/