USDA Announces Agriculture Innovation Steps to Meet Increasing Demands

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Thursday that it is seeking input on technologies which can be used around the United States to innovate agricultural technologies to help with their Agriculture Innovation Agenda (AIA). The goal of the USDA is to increase agricultural production by 40 percent to meet an increasing global population, while cutting the environmental effects of agriculture in half. Information about the program was also published in the Federal Register.

The USDA asked for comments to be submitted before November 9. Input is requested from the private sector, non-profit organizations, farmers, the forest sector, and others involved in agriculture or the agricultural supply chain. The release asks for submitted practices or technologies to be “ready to go” including being fully developed, reviewed by scientists, and field tested.

“Across America, we have seen significant advances in agricultural production efficiency and conservation performance during the past two decades,” said Under Secretary Bill Northey, leader of USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area, in a press release. “We want to keep the momentum. As part of our Agriculture Innovation Agenda, USDA wants to continue helping farmers access new approaches.”

The notice in the Federal Registrar asked for innovations that give a relative advantage, are compatible with used systems, are effective, have observed effects, have the potential for reinvention, or are complex. The USDA wants the innovations to target agricultural productivity, food loss or waste, greenhouse gasses, water quality, and renewable energy.

With the information gathered from the program and stakeholder input, the USDA plans to develop “a comprehensive U.S. agriculture innovation technology strategy for (their) consumer-facing programs.” The USDA also launched a new AIA website, along with the announcement, where individuals can see the latest research and data being done by the Department, view experiences of successful producers, and see the USDA’s accountability metrics and progress.

The press release explained that “the AIA is comprised of four main components. The first component is to develop a U.S. agriculture 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 … Finally, USDA has set benchmarks to improve accountability. These targets will help measure progress toward meeting future food, fiber, fuel, feed and climate demands.”