Commodity Credit Corporation

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Commodity Credit Corporation

The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is a federal agency that was established to stabilize and protect farm income and prices; to assist in the maintenance of balanced and sufficient supplies of useful or serviceable agricultural goods, especially articles of merchandise movable in trade; and to promote the orderly distribution of such products. It was organized on October 17, 1933, pursuant to an Executive Order, as an agency of the United States.

From October 17, 1933, to July 1, 1939, the CCC was managed and operated in close affiliation with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. On July 1, 1939, it was transferred to the Agriculture Department under a presidential Reorganization Plan. Adoption by Congress of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act on June 29, 1948, established the CCC as an agency and instrumentality of the United States under a permanent federal charter.

The CCC is managed by a board of directors and is subject to the general supervision and direction of the secretary of agriculture, who is an ex officio director and chairperson of the board. The board consists of seven members (in addition to the secretary of agriculture) who are appointed by the president of the United States by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

In carrying out its principal operations the CCC utilizes the personnel and facilities of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and, in certain foreign trade operations, the Foreign Agricultural Service. A commodity office in Kansas City, Missouri, has specific responsibilities concerned with the disposal (through donation, sale, or transfer) of designated commodities and products held by the Commodity Credit Corporation.

Commodity Stabilization

The CCC administers commodity loan programs, which are part of the "price support" system that has dominated U.S. agriculture since the 1930s. Farmers who agree to limit their production of specially designated crops can sell them to the CCC or borrow money at support prices. In 2003, the CCC managed loan programs for wheat, corn, rice, grain sorghum, barley, oats, oilseeds, tobacco, peanuts, cotton, and sugar.

Commodities acquired under the stabilization program are disposed of through domestic and export sales, transfers to other government agencies, and donations for domestic and foreign welfare use. The CCC is also authorized to exchange surplus agricultural commodities acquired by the CCC for strategic and other materials and services produced abroad.

Support Programs

Under Public Law 480, the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, as amended (7 U.S.C.A. 1691 et seq.), the CCC carries out other assigned activities. Along with providing domestic assistance to schools, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations, major emphasis is also directed toward meeting the needs of developing nations. Under the Food for Peace Act of 1966, which further amends the Agricultural Trade Act of 1954, agricultural commodities are procured and exported to combat hunger and malnutrition and to encourage economic improvement in developing countries.

The CCC is also involved in environmental issues. In 2000, the Agriculture Department implemented a two-year, $300 million incentive program designed to encourage increased production of biofuels (environmentally-friendly fuels) such as ethanol and soy-based biodiesel. As a result, the Commodity Credit Corporation provided cash incentives to bioenergy producers who increase their purchase of eligible agricultural commodities to expand production of ethanol, biodiesel, and other biofuels. Eligible commodities include barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, rice, wheat, soybeans, and many seed crops.

Further readings

Commodity Credit Corporation. Available online at <www.fsa.usda.gov/ccc/default.htm> (accessed May 29, 2003).

United States Department of Agriculture. Available online at <www.usda.gov> (accessed May 29, 2003).

Cross-references

Agricultural Law; Agriculture Subsidies.

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