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Perdue Announces New Innovation Initiative for USDA
USAgNet - 02/21/2020

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced 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, the agency 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. 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," said Secretary Perdue. "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 Corn Refiners Association (CRA) applauded Perdue's announcement.

"We commend Secretary Perdue for today's announcement. American agriculture and related industries lead the world in sustainable practices. With leadership like today's announcement, we will continue to do so long into the future," CRA President and CEO John Bode said. "Corn refiners are committed to sustainability across all aspects of their business, from supplier partnerships, to operations, and by producing circular economy advancing products, such as recyclable and compostable plastics. Corn refiners represent the kernel of innovation.

"We are striving to build on past success in reducing the overall carbon footprint of refined corn products. That will include advocating for research, policies and practices that support our producer partners attain the goals Secretary Perdue has announced. This is a movement that is well underway. Innovations, such as precision agriculture, coupled with improved practices, such as appropriate cover cropping, and prudent conservation efforts, such as pollinator habitat maintenance, are enabling America's agriculture community to improve soil health, carbon retention, and water quality while feeding the world."

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.

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