On January 8, 2018, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue presented to President Donald Trump the findings of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. The Task Force was established in 2017 following an Executive Order by President Trump to ensure the informed exercise of regulatory authority that impacts agriculture and rural communities. According to the report, over 100 actions organized around five key topic areas, specifically e-connectivity, quality of life, rural workforce, innovation and technology, and economic development, were identified.
Of the recommendations related to economic development, the Task Force identified regaining American energy dominance as a key objective. The report states that “[b]oosting production of all sources of energy from natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear, and renewables is essential to America’s national security interest and rural America’s economy. The federal government must ensure a regulatory environment which can unleash this potential while keeping Americans safe and healthy.”
Regarding innovation and technology, the report recognizes biotechnology as “another area of U.S. leadership, being a sector that has driven innovation in fuels, chemicals, manufacturing, and agriculture.” The Task Force recommended that:
- The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other relevant agencies develop a communications strategy to increase acceptance of biotech products; and
- The federal government continue efforts to modernize the federal regulatory system for biotechnology products, particularly by:
- Coordinating the federal regulation of biotechnology products;
- Coordinating interagency action through the Office of Science and Technology Policy; and
- Expediting the commercialization of biotechnology products.
The full report is available on the USDA website.