Resolved: That the United States should substantially change its federal agricultural policy.

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"In order to substantially change agricultural policy, one would have to significantly change the parameters for agricultural policy set forth in the Farm Bill."

"The only way to change agricultural policy apart from changing the Farm Bill would be to change the appropriations bill; the bill that provides the funding for the USDA to implement agricultural policy."

"The USDA implements agricultural policy within congressional parameters and does not really determine what policy is."

"Ninety-nine point nine percent of what the USDA does is policy implementation, and has nothing to do with making agricultural policy."

"Agricultural policy is embodied every five years in an act of Congress commonly known as the Farm Bill. This act sets forth parameters which the USDA follows in its duties."

"The USDA deals with quantity and quality issues for different commodities. Those commodities range from the value of farm loans to trade issues."

"The executive branch determines sub-issues of agricultural policy after the set of parameters which make up agricultural policy are passed by Congress."

"For example, Congress gives the USDA policy parameters for logging in the national forests. The USDA then determines how much physical logging gets done in accordance with that policy."

"Another example would be prunes or cherries. Congress sets a policy to allow the USDA to buy fruits of the market if there is a glut of them. Congress then passes the appropriations bill, which tells the USDA how much it may spend buying glut products. The USDA then may choose how much money it spends buying prunes, and how much it spends buying cherries."

"Congress determines through the Farm Bill how much the USDA must spend on each state for food stamps. Assume that the USDA has extra money left for food stamps when it is done. The USDA then might give that money to the state which does the best job of giving the food stamps to the needy."

"The USDA also checks travelers to ensure that they are not introducing alien flora and fauna, or alien diseases that would damage a particular region's habitat."

Statements extracted from a MCPP phone interview with Jerry Redding, National Communications Coordinator at the United States Department of Agriculture. The interview was conducted in the morning of June 20, 2001.

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