Food and Agriculture Industry Stakeholders Address FFAR Board

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Board of Directors and staff welcomed input from eleven groups whose representatives spoke at the Foundation’s first public board meeting session.

Those who answered the Board’s invitation to speak at the October 28 session were invited to prepare a three-minute address with input on FFAR’s research target areas and other ideas and insights regarding how the Foundation might be most effective going forward.

Remarks focused on areas of agriculture research with pressing research needs and opportunities, including mitigating antibiotic resistance, preventing obesity through nutrition, protecting pollinators, organically controlling weeds, developing new weed management technologies to address herbicide resistance issues, understanding the animal gut microbiome, and other topics.

Brian Steffenson, Professor and Lieberman-Okinow Endowed Chair of Cereal Disease Resistance at University of Minnesota, said on behalf of the Stakman-Borlaug Center, that “Crop wild relatives represent a virtual treasure trove of valuable alleles for breeding, yet thousands of accessions reside, under-utilized, in gene banks in the U.S. and abroad.”

Steffenson suggested that FFAR work to capture genetic diversity for plant health improvement and enhanced crop productivity through genomics, phenomics, and informatics; he also underscored the need for crisis response in the face of sudden threats to plant health.

Speakers also reinforced the need for new ways of thinking and unique public-private partnerships as well as the importance of seeing research through to implementation.

Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture, recommended that FFAR look to make a long-term impact by investing in large-scale, interdisciplinary projects with potential to serve as a platform for launching new approaches to key questions or removing barriers to waves of innovation.

“Ultimately, you have the opportunity to help build research platforms that will launch the path-breaking science we need to address the production, nutrition, and environmental challenges of a growing world,” said Akridge.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research staff and board express their sincere thanks to all those individuals who participated in the session and look forward to continued opportunities for engagement with stakeholders and experts in the food and agriculture arena.

View remarks from guest speakers

Read Dr. Rockey’s post-board meeting blog post.

Print This Post Print This Post
Overcoming Water Scarcity

Overcoming Water Scarcity

Continue

Agriculture uses 70 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Overcoming Water Scarcity Challenge Area addressed water use efficiency in agriculture by developing water conservation and reuse technologies, improving crop and livestock breeds, creating improved agronomic practices, increasing the social and economic tractability of conservation practices and enhancing the efficacy of Extension services.

FFAR’s Sustainable Water Management Challenge Area builds on earlier work to increase water availability and water efficiency for agricultural use, reduces agricultural water pollution and develops water reuse technologies.

Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms

Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms

Continue

FFAR’s 2016-2018 Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area increased soil health by building knowledge, fueling innovation, and enabling adoption of existing or new innovative practices that improve soil health.

The Soil Health Challenge Area advances existing research and identifies linkages between farm productivity and soil health, while also addressing barriers to the adoption of soil health practices.

Protein Challenge

Protein Challenge

Continue

FFAR’s 2016-2018 Protein Challenge Area sought to improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability of diverse proteins.

The Advance Animal Systems challenge area supports sustainable animal production through environmentally sound productions practices and advancement in animal health and welfare. Additionally, the Next Generation Crops Challenge Area develops non-traditional crops, including plant-based proteins, and creates new economic opportunities for conventional crops to increase future crop diversity and farm profitability.

Food Waste and Loss

Food Waste and Loss

Continue

About 40 percent of food in the US, or $161 billion each year, is lost or wasted. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Food and Waste Loss Challenge Area addressed the social, economic and environmental impacts from food waste and loss through research that developed of novel uses for agricultural waste, improved storage and distribution, supported tracking and monitoring, minimized spoilage through pre- and post-harvest innovations and changed behaviors to reduce food waste

FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area addresses food waste and loss and supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.

Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability

Continue

Supporting innovation is necessary for sustainable results. Over the last 50 years, farmers have tripled global food production thanks to agricultural innovations. Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability was a 2016-2018 Challenge Area that focused on understanding the barriers and processes that prevented the adoption of technology and research results into sustainable practices.

Urban Food Systems

Urban Food Systems

Continue

The 2016-2018 Urban Food Systems Challenge Area addressed feeding urban populations through urban and peri-urban agriculture and augmenting the capabilities of our current food system.

The Urban Food Systems Challenge Area continues this work and enhances our ability to feed urban populations.

Making My Plate Your Plate

Continue

FFAR’s 2016-2018 Making My Plate Your Plate Challenge Area focused on helping Americans meet the USDA 2015 Dietary Guideline recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, including research to both produce and provide access to nutritious fruits and vegetables.

FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.