Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Aims to Mitigate Potential Threats to Food Safety and Supply by Funding First Responders

Rapid Response Program Will Deploy Emergency Research, Education, and Extension Dollars

WASHINGTON, October 28, 2015 – The Foundation for Food and Agriculture (FFAR) today announced that it will launch an initiative to protect growers and consumers from threats to the nation’s food supply and safety. The funds deployed by the Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that supports actionable research addressing today’s challenges in food and agriculture, will allow researchers and outreach professionals to execute a targeted and swift response to a crisis.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research will work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to identify imminent threats as well as the unique ways in which FFAR can complement the work being done by the Department. FFAR will aim to use its agility to convene partners who can rapidly execute targeted research and implementation that would not occur otherwise.

“The Rapid Response Program is a prime example of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research board and staff’s commitment to laser-focused initiatives with the potential to make an immediate and positive impact,” said Dr. Sally Rockey, executive director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. “The Foundation’s ability to be nimble in its funding mechanisms and our close collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be tremendous assets in this endeavor.”

The Rapid Response Program is one of two inaugural initiatives announced today by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.

“Today marks an important step forward in establishing the Farm Bill’s new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research,” said Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who championed the 2014 Farm Bill that authorized FFAR to increase innovative and actionable research in food and agriculture.

“This Rapid Response Program – modeled on the success of Project GREEEN at Michigan State University – will serve as an innovative tool to help protect farmers and consumers from immediate threats to our food supply. When emergencies strike, as we saw earlier this year with the avian flu outbreak, local resources are quickly depleted and existing research can fall short of controlling the problem. This program will provide a quick response to gaps in existing research. These are exactly the type of projects envisioned when the Foundation was created in the Farm Bill.”

After the passage of the initial project proposal at this week’s board meeting, the Foundation will move to develop the grant solicitation process and governance structure.

FFAR Board member Doug Buhler, Assistant Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University, played a lead role in developing the Rapid Response Program. “The Michigan model of rapid response funding has been highly successful and I am confident that the benefits will be multiplied with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s national scope,” said Buhler.

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About the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit organization established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges. FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation.

Learn more: www.foundationfar.org Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking

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