Perdue to announce innovations agenda
At the Agriculture Department’s Outlook Forum today, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will announce the Agriculture Innovation Agenda, a department-wide initiative to align resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture to increase production by 40% while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050.
“We know we have a challenge facing us: to meet future food, fiber, fuel, and feed demands with finite resources. USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda is our opportunity to define American agriculture’s role to feed everyone and do right as a key player in the solution to this challenge,” Perdue said in a news release that was embargoed until 5 a.m. “This agenda is a strategic, department-wide effort to better align USDA’s resources, programs, and research to provide farmers with the tools they need to be successful and position U.S. agriculture as a leader in the global effort to meet demand. We are committed as ever to the economic sustainability and continued success of America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers.”
The press release from USDA said, “The first component of the Ag Innovation Agenda is to develop a U.S. ag-innovation strategy that aligns and synchronizes public and private sector research. The second component is to align the work of our customer-facing agencies and integrate innovative technologies and practices into USDA programs. The third component is to conduct a review of USDA productivity and conservation data. USDA already closely tracks data on yield, but on the environmental side, there’s some catching up to do. Finally, USDA has set benchmarks to hold us accountable. These targets will help measure progress toward meeting the food, fiber, fuel, feed, and climate demands of the future.
Some of the benchmarks include:
▪ Food loss and waste: Work toward the United States’ goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50% in the United States by the year 2030.
▪ Carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas: Enhance carbon sequestration through soil health and forestry, leverage the agricultural sector’s renewable energy benefits for the economy, and capitalize on innovative technologies and practices to achieve net reduction of the agricultural sector’s current carbon footprint by 2050 without regulatory overreach.
▪ Water quality: Reduce nutrient loss by 30% nationally by 2050.
▪ Renewable energy: We can increase the production of renewable energy feedstocks and set a goal to increase biofuel production efficiency and competitiveness to achieve market-driven blend rates of 15% of transportation fuels in 2030 and 30% of transportation fuels by 2050.”
USDA also noted that the theme of this year’s Outlook Forum is “The Innovation Imperative: Shaping the Future of Agriculture.” Several plenary panels and breakout sessions will focus on the central role science and innovation play in driving future growth and addressing challenges facing farmers.
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