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USDA Seeks Input On Ready-To-Go Technologies To Increase Production, Cut Environmental Footprint & Greenhouse Gases, Enhance Carbon Sequestration

On September 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture  announced it is seeking public- and private-sector input on the most innovative technologies and practices that can be readily deployed across U.S. agriculture as part of its Agriculture Innovation Agenda.

USDA is looking for ready-to-go technologies and practices to achieve its goal of increasing agricultural production by 40 percent to meet global population needs in 2050 while cutting U.S. agriculture’s environmental footprint in half.

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

To help identify and accelerate adoption of ready-to-go innovations, USDA is currently accepting public comments and written stakeholder input through its Request for Information (RFI) through November 9, 2020, which is published on the Federal Register.

Input is welcome from the private sector, not for profits, farmers, forest sector, trade associations, commodity boards and others involved in the supply chain or development of widely applicable practices, management approaches or technologies.

A ready-to-go practice, technology or management approach includes those that are fully developed, have been field tested and have completed independent research trials.

Based on stakeholder input from the RFI, USDA will develop a comprehensive U.S. agriculture innovation technology strategy for our customer-facing programs.

USDA has launched a new AIA website where visitors can access information on the latest research and data, innovative conservation technologies offered via USDA programs, and other conservation resources.

Visitors can also stay up to date on USDA’s accountability metrics and learn about the experiences of producers who share similar paths to success.

Agriculture Innovation Agenda

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.

USDA already closely tracks data on yield, but on the environmental side, there’s some catching up to do.

Finally, USDA has set benchmarks to improve accountability. These targets will help measure progress toward meeting future food, fiber, fuel, feed and climate demands.

Some of the benchmarks include:

-- Agricultural Productivity: Increase agricultural production by 40 percent by 2050 to do our part to meet estimated future demand.

-- Forest Management: Build landscape resiliency by investing in active forest management and forest restoration through increased Shared Stewardship Agreements with states.

-- Food loss and waste: Advance our work toward the goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50 percent in the United States by the year 2030.

-- Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas: Enhance carbon sequestration through soil health and forestry, leverage the agricultural sector’s renewable energy benefits for the economy and capitalize on innovative technologies and practices to achieve net reduction of the agricultural sector’s current carbon footprint by 2050 without regulatory overreach.

-- Water Quality: Reduce nutrient loss by 30 percent nationally by 2050.

-- Renewable Energy: 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 percent of transportation fuels in 2030 and 30 percent of transportation fuels by 2050.

View the RFI in the Federal Register, or download it here (PDF, 247 KB).

For more information, visit the USDA Agriculture Innovation Agenda webpage.

More information is available about assistance to farmers and landowners by visiting the USDA NRCS-PA webpage.

Related Article:

-- Wetlands Work: Matthew & Megan Kirchner Big Spring Run Restoration In Lancaster County

[Posted: Sept. 10, 2020]


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