Honoring & Inspiring Future Breakthroughs: New Prize

It is with great pride that I announce the new National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences.  With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research established this prize to recognize the extraordinary research accomplishments of mid-career food and agricultural scientists.

We are living in an age where the pace of science is accelerating like never before, and we have a great opportunity to see the results of research rapidly put into action.  Probably no other field is experiencing this more than agriculture.  Our food and agricultural scientists are pursuing basic and translational research that is cutting edge and yielding results that rarely even see the shelf. Our new transformational genetic technologies have immediate application to breeding, our data are not only big but enormous in size and value to our enterprise; we are ever expanding use of new technologies such as imaging to support farmers in knowing more about what is happening on their field.  Our entire research enterprise is about taking innovation to the field: we see a problem, we determine the knowledge necessary to solve it, and we extend that knowledge almost immediately.

The confluence of technological advances and intractable agriculture and food issues means scientists working in agriculture and food will be leading edge when it comes to the next great breakthroughs.  Let’s give them the recognition they deserve in what they already have done and for what lies ahead.  What better way to distinguish them than to bestow a prize from the National Academy of Sciences, our premier organization recognizing scientific scholarship and accomplishment? These honored individuals and/or teams will join the ranks of Borlaug and Carver, and even Pasteur and Mendel, who found that studying plants, animals and microbes is not only scientifically rewarding but can also change our lives and our world.

Dr. Sally Rockey, Executive Director

Nominations for the National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences Established by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research are open through October 3, 2016. Learn more or submit a nomination.

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.