With economic growth and innovation for rural America in mind, the newly-created Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity met for the first time Thursday morning.

The task force was created by Executive Order April 25.

“What we began here today is to lay a fertile seed bed in rural America, where good things can grow. Rural America has been struggling under burdensome regulations, but the leaders we gathered today are willing to work together to turn that around,” Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, said. “By establishing this task force, President Trump showed his commitment to prioritizing the prosperity of the farmers and ranchers of America’s heartland, as well as all citizens living in rural communities across this great country.”

During the meeting, the task force, led by Perdue, discussed their joint vision to develop a “streamlined method of interagency cooperation to achieve a broad range of goals.”

“Guided by the president at the helm, and with Secretaries Carson and Perry, Director Mulvaney, Trade Representative Lighthizer and so many others, we are telling rural America that we’re here, we’re listening, and we’re going to help provide you with the resources, tools and support to build robust, sustainable communities for generations to come,” Perdue said.

Perdue was appointed chair of the task force by President Donald Trump shortly after taking office.

The president directed the task force to “promote economic development and revitalization, job growth, infrastructure, innovation and quality of life issues for rural America.”

“Trade and innovation are essential to U.S. agriculture and rural prosperity, with nearly 20 percent of farm income derived from exports. Yet we know that we can do better for rural America, as our producers face a multitude of trade barriers to the use of innovative technologies and science-based standards,” Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), said. “USTR is dedicated to negotiating and enforcing trade deals with standards based on science to ensure the United States remains the world leader in innovation and a global powerhouse in agricultural trade.”

The task force is required to issue a report with recommendations for legislative or administrative actions within 180 days.

USDA encourages Americans to share their thoughts and ideas with the task force at: https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/06/14/establishment-interagency-task-force-agriculture-and-rural-prosperity.

The task force also includes representatives from the following cabinet agencies and executive branch departments:

  1. Secretary of the Treasury;
  2. Secretary of Defense;
  3. Attorney General;
  4. Secretary of the Interior;
  5. Secretary of Commerce;
  6. Secretary of Labor;
  7. Secretary of Health and Human Services;
  8. Secretary of Transportation;
  9. Secretary of Energy;
  10. Secretary of Education;
  11. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;
  12. Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission;
  13. Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
  14. Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy;
  15. Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy;
  16. Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers;
  17. Director of the Domestic Policy Council;
  18. Director of the National Economic Council;
  19. Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
  20. United States Trade Representative;
  21. Director of the National Science Foundation; and
  22. Heads of such other executive departments, agencies and offices as the president or the secretary of agriculture may, from time to time, designate.