New foundation to deploy $200 million to spur innovation in food and agriculture

The new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, authorized by Congress as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, will leverage its initial $200 million in funding to solve pressing challenges in food and agriculture, the FFAR Board of Directors resolved at its recent meeting on Capitol Hill. The board met Feb. 5-6 to refine elements of the foundation’s operating model and to begin outlining its priority research agenda.

“We are excited about the promise of this new foundation to advance innovative research on vital issues affecting the lives of all Americans,” said Board Chair and former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman. “FFAR will complement and not duplicate the work of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other important partners in the public and private sectors.”

The meeting, the second in-person gathering of the full board, focused on accelerating strategic planning and agreeing on the defining principles that will guide the new organization. The board also refined key elements of FFAR’s organization structure and operating model, including how and where FFAR should focus its efforts to catalyze innovation in food and agriculture, including through:

  • Funding cutting-edge research and development through grants and innovation challenges.
  • Building innovative public-private partnerships.
  • Convening other stakeholders and thought leaders to foster collaboration.
  • Building human capacity to advance innovation.

By Congressional mandate, the foundation must generate matching funds from the private sector or other partners in order to utilize the $200 million received from Congress. In the coming months, FFAR will solidify its initial research priorities and finalize other fundamental organizational details, with the priority of identifying its inaugural executive director. The board will meet again in June 2015.—FFAR press release