17 Dec
2019

Trade emphasis a part of newly announced USDA reorganization

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Thus far, U.S. agriculture has fairly mixed reviews about President Donald Trump. Despite massive support from rural America in his election, the president has been generating significant concern with crucial agricultural policies, most notably with regard to international trade.Trade, of course, is absolutely essential for the economic sustainability of virtually every major U.S. agricultural commodity. The President’s very aggressive stance in opposition to beneficial trade deals for agriculture including the Trans Pacific Partnership (which President Trump withdrew from) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (which President Trump threatened to withdraw from) were making U.S. agriculturalists increasingly uneasy, if not outright angry.The Trump Administration directly addressed this and other growing agricultural concerns in a Cincinnati press conference with newly confirmed U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.Listen to the full audio from the press conference here.Secretary Purdue in Cincinnati 5-11-17 FULL AUDIO“In order to advance agricultural trade, USDA intends to create an Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and realign the Foreign Agricultural Service to report to the new Undersecretary,” Perdue said. “Our plan to establish an undersecretary for trade fits right in line with my goal to be American agriculture’s unapologetic advocate and chief salesman around the world. By working side by side with our U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the USDA undersecretary for trade will ensure that American producers are well equipped to sell their products and feed the world.”Photo by Dale Minyo.In the last farm bill, Congress provided direction for USDA to examine options for reorganizing the international trade functions at USDA and potentially creating the new Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. The new trade-focused position at the USDA is part of a larger department-wide reorganization. Under the existing structure at USDA, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which deals with overseas markets, and the Farm Service Agency (FSA), which handles domestic issues, are housed under one mission area, along with the Risk Management Agency (RMA). Perdue pointed out that it makes much more sense to situate FAS under the new undersecretary for trade, where staff can sharpen their focus on foreign markets.Perdue said that the reorganization also includes the formation of a new Farm Production and Conservation mission area with a customer focus that meets USDA constituents in the field.“To create a customer-focused culture of public service and improve service delivery to agricultural producers, USDA intends to create an Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation and realign the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to report to the renamed Undersecretary,” Perdue said. “USDA also intends to realign the Rural Development agencies to report directly to the Secretary to provide additional visibility for the investments being made in rural America.”Though a reduction in USDA workforce is not part of the reorganization plan, with big budget cuts proposed by the Administration the reorganization efforts will likely ultimately facilitate doing more with less.“USDA remains committed to focusing our constrained resources where they will be most effective — on pushing our record-breaking pace of trade and ensuring that opportunities exist throughout the country for Americans to participate in a transformational global economy. In particular, USDA continues to negotiate and support strong trade deals that will open up markets and help farms, ranches, forests, and production facilities grow, create jobs, and increase wages,” Perdue said. “This plan also details additional changes to our Department that will improve the effectiveness of USDA efforts to meet the needs of agricultural and forest managers and demonstrate increased accountability to the American taxpayer.”Click HERE to view the report on the USDA website.The reviews remained mixed from the agricultural community. Those keenly interested in moving trade forward were pleased.“The National Corn Growers Association has long advocated for a dedicated position at USDA focused on increasing U.S. agricultural exports, and we pushed for this provision in the 2014 farm bill. We are pleased to see that post finally become a reality today,” said Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “Secretary Perdue’s announcement signals to farm country that the Trump Administration is listening to America’s farmers and ranchers. In this farm economy, trade is more important than ever to farmers’ incomes. Overseas markets represent 73% of the world’s purchasing power, 87% of economic growth, and 95% of the world’s customers. Now is the time for U.S. agriculture to fully capitalize on growing global demand for our products. Today’s announcement is a big step toward that goal.”There were concerns, however, about some other parts of the re-organization.“The Center for Rural Affairs has fought on behalf of rural communities for nearly 45 years. We are heartened that Sec. Perdue is making strong efforts during his early days in office to express support for rural communities. However, we are concerned about the path he has chosen. Sec. Purdue has proposed eliminating the position of Undersecretary for Rural Development and moving oversight of Rural Development agencies to the Deputy Secretary, USDA’s second-in-command. If he makes this change, Sec. Perdue will be removing the position of the most significant rural advocate within USDA. Rural America stands to suffer as a result,” said Anna Johnson, Center for Rural Affairs Policy Associate. “While USDA has a broad mission to promote and support our country’s food and agriculture, Rural Development is the only part of USDA that has the explicit directive to support rural communities.last_img read more

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15 Dec
2019

India’s cities get smarter with new project to boost data tracking

first_imgA charity is partnering with the World Council on City Data to build the capabilities of Indian cities to track city performance with data.As reported in the Times of India, the data project is called the City Data India Initiative. It is being spearheaded by Tata Trusts, the charitable organisation that controls two-thirds equity of the parent company of the Tata Group conglomerate.See also: India hopeful Trump will continue smart cities initiativesTata Trusts is partnering with the Toronto-based World Council on City Data (WCCD) which is an organization that provides a platform for standardized city data. The WCCD also provides certification for the international standard ISO 37120 Sustainable Development of Communities: Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life that allows benchmarking for progress and innovation.Aimed at building Indian city data capabilitiesThe new initiative is focused on building the data capabilities of Indian cities to accurately measure their urban area’s environmental, social, economic and performance.“It has become clear that we are now giving the cities true strength by working on data and recognising the importance of data,” said Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Trusts. “The impact of this profound usage is huge. It will enable both the government and private sectors to set civic codes, evaluate outreach and finally assess the impact of policy and initiatives.”The City Data India Initiative is aimed at supporting and enhancing the Indian governments various city development programmes. Specifically the new project will benefit government’s Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.“Realising the value of data, Tata Trusts have actively taken up the agenda of striving towards ‘Data-Driven Governance’ to inform, impact and improve policy formation with a view to facilitate holistic development of the nation,” stated Tata Trusts.The new data program will begin with three urban areas: Jamshedpur, Surat and Pune.This follows earlier news that U.S. networking hardware giant Cisco Systems is looking to transform 100 Indian metropolises into smart cities with connected technology.Cisco announced in November that it would begin by wiring 14 Indian cities, and hoped to expand that number to 100 throughout the life of its partnership. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Donal Power Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Tags:#Cisco#India#IoT#Smart Cities#smart city#Tata Group#Tata Trusts#World Council on City Data center_img Related Posts Follow the Puck Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…last_img read more

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3 Dec
2019

J&K Governor heads to Delhi

first_imgAmid the ongoing crisis in the State, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra on Saturday went to New Delhi to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval.Sources said Mr. Vohra will discuss the unrest and the ground situation with Mr. Singh and Mr. Doval. He is also likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra ModiIt is learnt that Mr. Vohra, who is also head of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, will also brief the central leadership about the security requirements this year for visitors, amid issues in south Kashmir.A new Governor?The Governor’s visit assumes significance in the wake of demands for Governor’s rule in the State by several parties. Besides, news of a possible meeting between Mr. Vohra and Mr. Modi has also fuelled speculation that the Centre was looking for a new Governor. Several names, including that of a Kashmiri pandit, are doing the rounds for the top position.Meanwhile, Amit Shah, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), arrived in Jammu for a two-day visit to meet party legislators so that he could get the sense of situation evolving in Kashmir an Jammu regions in the wake of series of developments, including low voter turnout and attacks on Muslims by gau rakshaks.Also, Farooq Abdullah, president of the Opposition National Congress (NC) on Saturday expressed concern over the Centre’s decision not to hold talks with separatists.“The Centre’s submission in the Supreme Court that it will not hold dialogue with separatists might prove disastrous for the future of Jammu and Kashmir. We express our concern and regret over the stand,” Mr. Abdullah said, addressing a meeting of party leaders and workers here.Terming talks as the “only way” for the resolution of the Kashmir issue and everlasting peace in the region, Mr. Abdullah urged for early resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan saying “bombs and bullets will not help“.BJP leader Ram Madhav had on Saturday had attacked separatist leaders in Kashmir, accusing them of playing politics of sentiment over dead bodies and said that the Centre had made it clear that it would not hold talks with them.(with PTI inputs)last_img read more

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