The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) is now seeking comments from the public in connection with the Biden administration’s wide-ranging review of America’s supply chains. USDA’s request is the first to address the administration’s year-long sectoral supply chain evaluations – in this case agricultural commodities and food products.
Several agencies have already requested comments in connection with 100-day reviews of the supply chains for: semiconductors and advanced packaging; high-capacity batteries; and critical minerals and other identified strategic materials.
USDA’s notice requests comments and information on a wide-range of issues relating to labor acquisition and training, technology, climate and environment, transportation, storage and distribution, research and development, and financing.
The notice specifically calls out the following goods and materials as “critical and essential” that should be addressed in industry comments:
seed, fertilizer, pesticides, livestock/animal health, feed and feed additives, plant health, soil health, water (availability, quality, access, infrastructure), energy (availability, access, infrastructure), viability of pollinators, the agricultural workforce (sufficiency, reliability, documentation, health and well-being), access to capital/financing, access to farm production tools (including for farmers interested in value-added agriculture such as USDA organic certification), access to critical food distribution assets (shipping containers, cold chain equipment, and materials such as packaging) and technology, access to food processing and markets (including traceability and transparency), and access to training, education, and technical assistance.
Commenters should also consider providing recommendations on how USDA should use funding and programs arising out of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA”) and American Rescue Plant Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) to increase durability and resilience within the U.S. food supply.
The deadline to file comments is Friday, May 21, 2021.
Additional notices concerning the administration’s sectoral supply chain evaluations will likely be forthcoming in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to Kelley Drye’s Trade and Manufacturing Monitor for future updates.