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(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) The Trump administration’s new Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force met for the first time on Thursday. The task force, which is led by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, contains members from 23 different government departments and councils. The task force, said Perdue, will have an action plan ready to execute by October 22. Some of the key issues affecting agriculture that were discussed at the meeting included reworking the Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS), international trade relationships, and foreign barriers to biotech farm products. But other issues, such as the proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and many rural federal programs, as well as immigration and farm labor needs, were mostly avoided. Each member of the task force was given time to present their ideas for helping agriculture and rural America thrive. Secretary of the Department of Energy Rick Perry and a representative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency both called out burdensome regulations as their top priorities. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he was concerned about trade deficits and other hurdles facing U.S. agricultural exports. In response to a reporter’s question following the meeting, Perdue did speak to the USDA budget, saying, "Agriculture is waiting to see the budget that's been put together -- the president has submitted that. We'll see where we come out. Rural development is -- I can assure you -- from [Trump's] perspective, very important."

Posted June 15th, 2017