The Agriculture Department has finalized a sweeping overhaul of its approval process for biotech crops that will exempt some gene modifications from regulation and allow developers to decide on their own whether their products qualify.
Trade remains the top concern for American agriculture heading into 2020, with looming uncertainty about whether the Chinese will make promised increases in commodity purchases, and whether President Donald Trump will provide another round of trade assistance to U.S. producers.
A congressional agreement to fund the government for fiscal 2020 includes an additional $1.5 billion in disaster relief for farmers and would revive the biodiesel tax credit and extend it through 2022.
Leaders of the three largest seed and chemical companies say it’s technologically possible to reduce farming’s environmental footprint while feeding a growing global population, but they worry policymakers and regulators will stand in the way.
Trump administration officials say they are committed to reducing regulatory barriers to agricultural biotechnology as part of a larger strategy to promote the development of a "bioeconomy" based on far-reaching scientific innovations that could revolutionize medicine, nutrition and manufacturing as well as farming.