Assembling FFAR Advisory Councils

We are a small organization with big ideas. But our ability to transform these ideas into research programs will be greatly aided by extending ourselves into our community where the knowledge, experience, and insight of what’s important in food and agriculture research is at hand. Today, we are pleased to take the first step toward forming FFAR Advisory Councils; providing FFAR with the expertise to know what we need to know.

One thing that became apparent to me very quickly after my “reentry” into the food and agriculture world is the incredible number of organizations and groups who have creative ideas for how food and agriculture research will propel our ability to sustainably nourish the world’s growing population. The combination of the sheer volume of research ideas and the pace at which science is moving today, means “getting the lay of the land” in this vast agricultural research landscape becomes a challenge to say the least.  One way to overcome the challenge is to use our partners and colleagues to help bring some order to the issues confronting the food and agriculture system where FFAR resources will make a significant impact and where there is possibility for private/public partnerships. Our close relationship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture is one way that we keep our ear to the rail. Our Board of Directors also will continue to be one of our most valuable resources and our guiding light when it comes to charting the course for FFAR.

Advisory Councils we are working to assemble through the nomination process we announced today, will stretch FFAR expertise even further to allow us to stay tuned into the ever-advancing food and agriculture sciences and determine the researchable questions that would benefit most from a FFAR investment.

FFAR’s Advisory Councils will be composed of scientific and stakeholder experts whose collective knowledge and experience spans the swath of issues that fall under FFAR’s seven research target areas.

The Councils will provide guidance and recommendations to the FFAR staff and board as we develop programming, identify opportunities for scientific innovation, and evaluate research proposals.

Advisory Council members will have a big job ahead of them as we are a fledgling organization that is formulating its path for the future. But seeing the great outpouring of support for FFAR during its formative first months makes me confident that many of you will want to be part of what will certainly be an exciting time for us and for the agriculture and food research system.  To put a bit of icing on the cake, we are going to do all we can to make being part of a FFAR advisory council as easy as possible and are exploring how we can take advantage of today’s technology to have virtual meetings wherever possible. So those of you who come on board with us, have your avatars ready for an April start date!

Would you like to join us or do you have someone in mind who is a great forward thinker in food and agriculture research? Submit your nominations here.

Overcoming Water Scarcity

Overcoming Water Scarcity

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.