The following is a statement from American Seed Trade Association President & CEO Andrew W. LaVigne:
“We’re pleased that the Trump Administration recognizes the critical importance of U.S. agriculture and the rural economy. Under the strong leadership of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force is taking positive steps to identify and address some of the key challenges faced by rural America.
“We’re especially encouraged by the Task Force’s focus on technological innovation. The seed industry is built on a long history of innovation; and continued innovation is paramount to the future of agriculture, and our quality of life. Plant breeding innovation holds tremendous promise in finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges faced by our society today—from soil and water health, to nutrition and global food security. Newer breeding methods like gene editing have exciting potential for both public and commercial plant breeders in developed and developing countries, and can be used across all agriculturally important crops, including food, feed, fiber and fuel crops. However, the full potential of these and other evolving breeding methods will not be fully realized unless we have a policy climate—both at home and abroad—that encourages continued progress and widespread access to new and emerging technologies.
“Additionally, international market access is key to the success of U.S. agriculture. The seed industry is a global business, and we’re glad to see the Task Force emphasize the importance of opening markets overseas and eliminating non-tariff trade barriers.
“U.S. agriculture plays a critical role in the domestic and global economy. We look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Perdue and the rest of the Task Force to ensure strong policy that supports continued innovation and economic opportunity, growth and development in rural America.”