Task Force showcases broad interagency support for promoting economic growth and spurring innovation in rural America
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hosted the inaugural meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. Joined by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai, and other government officials, the group discussed their joint vision to develop a streamlined method of interagency cooperation to achieve a broad range of goals. The Task Force is working to improve the quality of life for people living in rural areas, develop a reliable workforce, spur innovation and technology development, and roll back regulations to allow communities to grow and thrive. By directly engaging stakeholders to develop an action plan for legislative reforms and regulatory relief, the Task Force is expected to accomplish a great deal for rural Americans. Following the meeting, Secretary Perdue issued this statement:
“What we began here 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. 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. 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,” Secretary Perdue said.
President Trump’s Executive Order established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity “to ensure the informed exercise of federal authority that impacts agriculture and rural communities.” As Secretary of Agriculture, Perdue serves as the task force’s chairman.
The task force will examine and consider, among other issues, current barriers to economic prosperity in rural America and how innovation, infrastructure, and technology may play a role in long-term, sustainable rural prosperity. The panel will strengthen federalism by working with state agencies charged with implementing economic, community and global market development, including agricultural programs, while also emphasizing regulatory flexibility for farms and small businesses. With a dependence on sound science, task force members will examine technology, including bioengineering and crop protection tools, used by farmers and also address concerns regarding workforce needs for agricultural jobs. Additionally, the group will focus on policies that allow family farms to remain intact, including information connectivity and tax reform, while also protecting against federal takeover of state-adjudicated water rights, permitting and licensing, and other requirements beyond what is provided in law. Finally, members will look to improve food safety and the implementation of food safety laws, but also recognize the unique nature of farming and the diverse structures of rural businesses.
The task force is required to issue a report with recommendations for legislative or administrative actions within 180 days. The task force consists of representatives from the following cabinet agencies and executive branch departments:
- Secretary of the Treasury;
- Secretary of Defense;
- Attorney General;
- Secretary of the Interior;
- Secretary of Commerce;
- Secretary of Labor;
- Secretary of Health and Human Services;
- Secretary of Transportation;
- Secretary of Energy;
- Secretary of Education;
- Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;
- Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission;
- Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
- Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy;
- Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy;
- Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers;
- Director of the Domestic Policy Council;
- Director of the National Economic Council;
- Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
- United States Trade Representative;
- Director of the National Science Foundation; and
- Heads of such other executive departments, agencies, and offices as the President or the Secretary of Agriculture may, from time to time, designate.