FFAR Highlights Food and Agriculture Innovation At Inaugural Foster Our Future Event

WASHINGTON (February 5, 2019) – The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) today hosted its inaugural event, Foster Our Future, a first-of-its-kind research exhibition and discussion forum. The event showcased recent advances in food and agriculture science.

An estimated 400 agricultural leaders, farmers, and politicians joined participants from academia, industry, and non-profit organizations for the one-day event in Washington, DC to experience how science is changing the food and agriculture landscape.

FFAR envisions a world where every person has access to nutritious, affordable food, grown on thriving farms. Yet, with the global population projected to reach nearly 10 billon people by 2050, our food system must evolve. This evolution depends on agricultural innovation.

“We’re here today to celebrate agricultural innovation. Food and agriculture research has made unprecedented strides in just the last few years, and it is inspiring to see so much achievement displayed in one room,” said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey. “However, this event is just the beginning. Farmers are facing major food and agriculture challenges. Addressing these challenges requires that academia, industry, government and non-profit organizations work together to pool ideas, expertise, and resources to innovate our food and agriculture systems.”

FFAR builds unique public-private partnerships to fund the groundbreaking research needed to combat agriculture’s most pressing issues. In this spirit, the event kicked off with remarks from Sally Rockey, Executive Vice President at American Farm Bureau Federation Dale Moore, and US Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

The event featured interactive exhibits that brought science to life in new and different ways:

  • General Mills created a display to highlight advancements in regenerative agriculture.
  • AeroFarms invited participants to tour their vertical farms through virtual reality, while tasting lettuce grown without soil or sunlight.
  • The Irrigation Innovation Consortium demonstrated the benefits of their new soil moisture sensors.
  • The US Department of Agriculture allowed participants to interact with their bee hive, while a USDA beekeeper explained the risk that varroa mite poses to these important pollinators.
  • The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance took participants on a virtual reality field trip to a farm and offered them the opportunity to engage with farmers.
  • The Yield Lab’s entrepreneurs outlined plans to sustainably revolutionize food and agriculture systems.

The panel discussions were equally engaging. The event started with a discussion about regenerative agriculture and the role it plays in the food system. Later in the afternoon, participants heard from government, non-profit, and industry officials about the importance of driving innovation through public-private partnerships. The crowd also had the opportunity to hear about the research land-grant universities are currently conducting and how they plan to develop solutions for tomorrow.

Additionally, two videos that aired during the event explained the importance of adaptive multi-paddock grazing, and how this practice can increase farm resiliency, advance soil biodiversity, and improve animal welfare.

The full list of event speakers and the complete agenda is available online.

“Not only did Foster Our Future successfully highlight the next frontier in agriculture innovation, but this event was also a great reminder of how much fun science can be,” said Rockey.

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Foster Our Future, a FFAR signature event

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit organization established by bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, is hosting a food and agriculture research exhibition and discussion forum. Foster Our Future is a first-of-its-kind event that will highlight how science is changing the food and agriculture landscape. During this one-day event, attendees can interact with displays exhibiting FFAR-supported research and other scientific breakthroughs.