In keeping with President Donald Trump’s executive order establishing the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue launched the effort on Thursday along with representatives from 22 federal agencies that are taking on the wide-ranging initiative. The task force will work to find ways to increase jobs, housing and educational opportunities for America’s rural communities, and to remove obstacles, such as burdensome regulations, and to improve infrastructure and access to technology. The task force held its inaugural meeting in Washington, D.C., and attendees included 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. “What we began here today is to lay a fertile seed bed in rural America, where good things can grow,” Perdue said. He went on:
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.
---Revise and simplify BLM & FS grazing regs
---Inventory all vacant grazing allotments and bring them back into production
---Revise policies so that ranchers have an incentive to invest in range improvements, rather than the disincentives that currently exist
---Quit wasting time and money on these namby-pamby forest thinning projects and instead lease federal lands for timber harvest
---Stop policies whereby federal agencies can administratively designate wilderness areas and hold them in limbo for years waiting for Congress to act
---Many good things can be accomplished by revising manuals and policy guidance to the field, and without going through the time-consuming regulatory process. This avenue for change should be pursued immediately
I'm sure that, given time for reflection, others will have some great recommendations.