Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms: New Cover Crop Initiative

Today, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation announced a $6.6 million initiative to improve soil health through development and adoption of cover crops across the United States.

Together, we will:

  • Enhance the health and future productivity of U.S. soils
  • Spur development and commercialization of enhanced cover crop varieties that will provide a host of environmental benefits and increased yields
  • Increase profitability and sustainability for thousands of farmers across the U.S.

This initiative is the perfect example of what FFAR is working to achieve –bringing together key players toward a common goal that benefits a broad swath of agriculture.  This project is strengthened by expertise at multiple land grant universities, the Department of Agriculture, and the proven leadership of Noble Foundation.

Since FFAR was established, we have heard again and again from the community about the critical need to improve soil health across the United States and the host of environmental and economic benefits offered by cover crops.

Soil health is a challenge that FFAR is committed to addressing; the National Cover Crop Initiative announced today is the first of what will be more soil health projects from FFAR.

Our joint investment in soil health through this grant has the potential to increase profitability and sustainability for thousands of farmers across the U.S and will generate new cover crop varieties and data for use by other researchers and for commercialization. Researchers leading this initiative will maximize our impact by engaging both producers and industry throughout the process.

We look forward to sharing the results this project will generate.  I know that this project is only the beginning of what certainly will be a fabulous partnership with Noble Foundation as we imagine and realize a world where science drives agriculture to new heights with the people of the world as its beneficiaries.

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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.