USDA: Ag Innovation Agenda is a solution for farmers, environment

By USDA | February 20, 2020

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Feb. 20 the Agriculture Innovation Agenda, a department-wide initiative to align resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands. Specifically, USDA will stimulate innovation so that American agriculture can achieve the goal of increasing production by 40 percent 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,” Perdue said. “USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda is our opportunity define American agriculture’s role to feed everyone and do right as a key player in the solution to this challenge. 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. We are also continually mindful of the need for America’s agriculture industry to be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable to maintain our position as a leader in the global effort to meet demand. We are committed as ever to the environmental sustainability and continued success of America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers.”

The first component of the 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 the department’s 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. Advance our work toward the goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent in the U.S. 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 percent 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 percent of transportation fuels in 2030 and 30 percent of transportation fuels by 2050.

Read more about the Agriculture Innovation Agenda here.

Secretary Perdue announced the Agriculture Innovation Agenda at USDA’s 2020 Agriculture Outlook Forum Feb. 20.


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