Chartered by the President's Council on Sustainable Development in 1994, the Task Force on Sustainable Agriculture was charged with articulating the key social, economic, and environmental challenges to be met in achieving a sustainable U.S. agriculture. The Task Force's mission was to identify and examine relevant issues and to make recommendations to the council for policy actions to be implemented by the public and private sectors.
To carry out its mission, the Task Force focused first on gathering information about barriers to and positive examples of sustainable agriculture-production practices and systems. At public roundtables in Chicago, Chattanooga, San Francisco, and Washington DC, and during field trips to farming operations, agricultural research facilities, and sustainable-farming demonstration sites, Task Force members sought comment from farmers, agricultural researchers, agricultural development and policy consultants, academics, natural resource specialists, agricultural extension personnel, agribusiness, state and federal agricultural agencies, and agricultural trade associations. The Task Force also sought assistance from an advisory panel, which was made up of experts from agriculturally related disciplines, backgrounds, and sectors.
The Task Force synthesized input from these sources into a set of four goals and nine policy recommendations. The first five recommendations are aimed at achieving environmentally sound and economically viable agricultural production; the sixth recommendation at revitalizing rural farming communities; the seventh recommendation at producing a safe and high-quality food supply; the eighth recommendation at encouraging research on integrating productivity, profitability, and environmental stewardship into the U.S. agricultural system; and the ninth recommendation at achieving international harmonization of intellectual property rights. These recommendations are designed to help achieve a sustainable U.S. agriculture.
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