USA – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched the Agriculture Innovation Agenda, a department-wide initiative to align resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands.

USDA said that the initiative will stimulate innovation seeking to ensure that American agriculture achieve the goal of increasing production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of US 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,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue.

“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.”

As part of the initiative, USDA will continue working to modernize the regulatory framework so America’s producers will have the benefit of modern technologies, such as biotechnology, necessary to meet these challenges.

The first component of the Ag Innovation Agenda is to develop a US ag-innovation strategy that aligns and synchronizes public and private sector research.

The initiative will also align the work of customer-facing agencies and integrate innovative technologies and practices into USDA programs and conduct a review of USDA productivity and conservation data.

USDA has also set benchmarks increase the accountable and track progress towards meeting the food, fiber, fuel, feed, and climate demands of the future.

Some of the benchmarks include: the United States’ goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent by the year 2030 and to achieve net reduction of the agricultural sector’s current carbon footprint by 2050 without regulatory overreach.

The US is also seeking to 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.

Over the next year, USDA will review the array of data it is collecting on conservation practices and make improvements to conservation reporting systems to identify the most useful data for tracking progress towards these goals.

The agency will also utilize innovation breakthrough opportunities derived from the 2019 National Academies of Science report, Science Breakthroughs to Advance Food and Agricultural Research by 2030, to form the basis for a forthcoming USDA Request for Information (RFI) on the most important innovation opportunities to be addressed in the near and long term.