The United States Department of Agriculture has released its Agriculture Innovation Strategy Directional Vision for Research, the culmination of a months-long process of gathering and selecting information from the public — including the American Soybean Association (ASA) and other agriculture groups — on research priorities under the Agricultural Innovation Agenda (AIA). ASA’s soy policy group is very pleased the resulting summary of the Ag Innovation vision — and correlating public dashboard for accessing that information — incorporates recommendations made by ASA as part of the stakeholder consultation process.
“ASA grower-leaders and staff spent many hours the past year crafting ideas and offering recommendations to USDA on how to better position American agriculture for future success through innovation aimed at improved production, environmental sustainability and market development,” ASA President and South Dakota farmer Kevin Scott said. “We are appreciative that USDA incorporated high level, agenda-oriented recommendations provided by ASA, as well as more specific research and innovation-enabling proposals.”
Many recommendations submitted by ASA and subsequently included by USDA align with priorities the grower group has shared with the incoming Biden administration and speak to how innovation can act as a tool for successfully increasing productivity while reducing the environmental footprint.
A predominant theme of ASA’s recommendations to USDA was that innovations in productivity and sustainability must be viewed through the lens of economic sustainability, seeking to ensure that significant increases in productivity do not have a destabilizing effect on markets.
Kyle Kunkler, ASA director of innovation, said this project should demonstrate how farmer-leaders can collaborate across administrations to achieve long-term goals important to agriculture and the greater public.
“We believe this focus on economic stability, coupled with increases in productivity and environmental sustainability, will allow soybean growers to continue to feed and fuel a growing global population in a way that will result in reduced environmental impact from production and end-products,” he said.
ASA appreciates the investment by USDA staff to both administer the AIA in a collaborative, thoughtful manner and in defining a specific Vision for Directional Research that is potentially viable and effective.
“It is our hope that many of the needs and innovative solutions identified by various stakeholders, as well as the accumulation of these ideas and directional vision offered by USDA, can serve as a foundational effort to direct public and private research to a more productive and sustainable future for U.S. agriculture,” Scott said. “ASA looks forward to working with policymakers and other stakeholders in the months and years ahead to realize that vision.”