USDA is seeking comments on a department-wide effort to improve and reimagine the supply chains for the production, processing and distribution of agricultural commodities and food products.

The agency is taking this action in response to Executive Order 14017, America’s Supply Chains. The request for comments has been published in the Federal Register, and the comment period will close on May 21.

The comments will help USDA assess the critical factors, risks and strategies needed to support resilient, diverse and secure supply chains and ensure "U.S. economic prosperity, national security and nutrition security" for all Americans, USDA said in an announcement on Wednesday.

“We have an opportunity to take the lessons we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and apply those to transforming our nation’s food system from the inside out, including our supply chains,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, said.

“USDA plans to tackle this supply chain assessment holistically — looking across a full range of risks and opportunities,” he said.

In addition to asking about the agricultural supply chain, USDA is interested in comments about how to target pandemic-related stimulus relief programs and spending toward long-term, systemic change that results in food supply chain resiliency.

In particular, the request for comment seeks input on:

• Bolstering local and regional food systems.

• Developing new market opportunities, including for value-added agriculture and products.

• Creating fairer and more competitive markets.

• Meeting the needs of the agricultural workforce.

• Supporting and promoting consumers’ nutrition security, particularly for low-income populations.

• Addressing the needs of socially disadvantaged and small to mid-sized producers.

• Advancing efforts in other ways to transform the food system.

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