USDA Seeks Comment on Agriculture Innovation Agenda

The Agriculture Innovation Agenda, published in February of this year, is an initiative proposed by the USDA to increase food production by 40% while cutting the United States’ environmental footprint in half by 2050. Now, the USDA is seeking comment on this agenda from both the public and private sectors, due by August 1. 

What is the Agriculture Innovation Agenda?

What is the Agriculture Innovation Agenda? 

This agenda is divided into three action-oriented steps and consists of four benchmarks. The first step is to align public and private sector research on agriculture innovation. The second step is to align customer-facing agencies and introduce innovative technology into USDA programs. The third and last step is to review USDA productivity and conservation data. This last step is vital to ensuring the agriculture industry monitors its environmental data, as it currently fails to keep accurate records of its environmental impact.   

The following four benchmarks will help support the process: 

  1. Food Loss and Waste: reduce food loss and waste by 50% in 10 years
  2. Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas: achieve net reduction of the agriculture sector’s current carbon footprint in 30 years by increasing carbon sequestration via soil health and forestry, renewable energy, and innovative technology 
  3. Water Quality: reduce nutrient loss by 30% in 30 years
  4. Renewable Energy: achieve market-drive blend rates of 15% of transportation fuels in ten years and 30% of transportation fuels in 30 years by increasing renewable energy feedstocks and biofuel production efficiency. 

According to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue, we must meet future food, fiber, fuel, and feed demands with limited resources due to environmental degradation. In order to meet these demands, we must invest in innovative technology and solutions to regenerate the environment. 

And according to Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky, supporting farmers is more important now than ever: 

     “Even during this uncertain time, we recognize our work at USDA is twofold: to meet the immediate needs of our customers in this national health emergency and to support American agriculture in the face of future demands […] Although current dynamics have shifted, our focus remains on positioning American agriculture to be a part of the solution to future demands.”

What Feedback are they Seeking?

Comments should identify innovation opportunities that will support agriculture productivity and environmental conservation. Respondents should additionally propose approaches to said opportunities while referencing public and private research that supports these suggestions. Feedback will help the USDA better formulate future benchmarks for the next few decades. 

For more on innovation in the agriculture industry, see our blog