FFAR at the Borlaug Dialogue: Celebrating the New NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences

Greetings from Des Moines, Iowa!

By now you’ve heard a lot from me about the National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences Established by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…but our excitement about this new award knows no bounds!

From left: Dr. Ronald Phillips, Ms. Pam Johnson, myself – Sally Rockey, and Lawrence Kent.

Nominations closed last week, and this week I am over the moon and honored to be hosting an event in celebration of the new Prize at the Borlaug Dialogue! On Wednesday morning, we held an event to take advantage of so many food security leaders gathered in one place. What better time and place to welcome this milestone for agriculture than with our partners and colleagues at the Borlaug Dialogue, on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the World Food Prize?

A warm thank you to those of you who were able to join us in Des Moines for our celebration. We were most privileged to hear from the following speakers:

  • Ms. Pam Johnson, Secretary, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Board of Directors; Second Vice President, Maizall and Past President, National Corn Growers Association
  • Mr. Lawrence Kent, Senior Program Officer, Agricultural Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Dr. Ronald Phillips, National Academy of Sciences Member and Regents’ Professor Emeritus and former McKnight Presidential Chair in Genomics, University of Minnesota Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
  • Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President, World Food Prize Foundation

For those who weren’t able to be with us, a quick update:

More than 30 contenders were nominated for the first-ever prize dedicated to food and agriculture sciences to be hosted at the Academy. Our friends at NAS tell me that 30+ nominations is a strong showing for the first year of an award.

The first annual recipient will be announced in January 2017.

Save the Date: FFAR and NAS will host a celebratory event, with the winner, in Washington, DC on Thursday, April 27.

Here’s to the first extraordinary recipient of the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences recipient, and many more to come!

–Dr. Sally Rockey, Executive Director

Learn More about the Prize

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.