Many U.S. cattle producers saw the TPP as a way to boost beef exports to Japan. (File: Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media)
Many U.S. cattle producers saw the TPP as a way to boost beef exports to Japan. (File: Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media)

After publicly stumping for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, many in the agriculture industry were forced to re-group Monday after President Donald Trump formally backed out of the trade pact.

During a rancorous election campaign that saw both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates vow to scrap the TPP, large farm groups were among just a handful of political organizations working to drum up support for the deal. The TPP was drafted as one of the world’s largest trade deals and included 11 other countries along the Pacific Rim.

The American Farm Bureau Federation claimed in its analysis that the TPP could have increased U.S. agricultural exports by billions of dollars a year. After Trump officially pulled the plug on U.S. participation in the deal, the AFBF urged the president back to the negotiating table.

Then-Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue visits the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay in 2010. (usembassy_montevideo/Flickr)
Then-Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue visits the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay in 2010. (usembassy_montevideo/Flickr)

President-elect Donald Trump plans to pick former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the Agriculture Department, a transition official and a source close to the process confirmed to NPR.

Trump is expected to make a formal announcement on Thursday, ending a months-long process that left Agriculture Secretary as the final Cabinet post to be filled.

The reported front-runner for weeks, Perdue was a member of Trump’s Agricultural Advisory Committee during the general election campaign. If nominated and confirmed, he will take charge of the USDA, an agency with nearly 100,000 employees and a $150 billion budget.

Aerial Imagery is the most common use for drones in agriculture. Taking inch-by-inch resolution imagery allows for precise use of chemicals and the detecting issues with equipment. (Jesse Howe for Harvest Public Media)
Aerial Imagery is the most common use for drones in agriculture. Taking inch-by-inch resolution imagery allows for precise use of chemicals and the detecting issues with equipment. (Jesse Howe for Harvest Public Media)

Drones are not just a hot gift item or a weapon for use by the military. They’re also helping farmers change the landscape of agriculture. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International predicts that 80 percent of drones in the commercial sector will be used for agriculture, according to ​USA Today​.

Alongside unmanned tractors and satellite technology, drones are seen by many as part of the next generation of “precision agriculture” tools, able to use Big Data to improve agricultural practices and efficiency. Though still in its infancy as a tool, here are five ways drones are already impacting the food system.

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