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Vision and Mission

We build unique partnerships to support innovative science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges.

With 9.7 billion people projected to populate the world by 2050, our food system must evolve. Sustainably nourishing the growing global community demands transformative discoveries from the best and brightest scientists. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research brings together leading experts to identify and investigate the researchable questions whose answers have the potential to enhance the economic and environmental resilience of our food supply.

We envision a world in which ever-innovating and collaborative science provides every person access to affordable, nutritious food grown on thriving farms.

We believe that by working together, our vibrant research community of nonprofits, foundations, governments, individual researchers and producers, colleges and universities, and companies can support and implement the science we need to meet our common goal: to grow enough food, in an economically, environmentally, and sustainable way, to nourish the growing US and global population that are food insecure.  Part of our role in this collaborative effort is to convene individuals and groups who can pool creative ideas, expertise and resources so that we can make a difference, together.


As a developing organization, grounding our growth in shared beliefs is critical to success.  Our commitment to excellence, people and partnerships, innovation and integrity are at the root of who we are, what we do, and how we work.


We support science that shows potential to propel food and agriculture forward with real-world results. We strive to work effectively, operate nimbly, and respond rapidly to emerging challenges that can be addressed through research. We constantly seek scientific opportunities that can be seized for the benefit of the food and agriculture system.

People and Partnership

We need not only brilliant minds, but also fresh perspectives tackling today’s challenges in food and agriculture. We embrace diversity and promote inclusiveness in all we do, from the teams we build to the grantees we support.

Our research programs incorporate stakeholder input to drive outcomes that are not just scientifically sound, but also economically viable. We work to create opportunities where they didn’t exist before.

Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research partnerships are built on trust, shared goals, and the knowledge that we can accomplish more together with our partners than we would alone.


With each project, we survey the field for research and development needs that are not being met elsewhere. We strive to catalyze transformative, real-world results and to do so, we welcome creative partnership models and research designs that challenge the status quo to produce knowledge that benefits end users.


Commitment to high ethical and professional standards is the foundation for all we do. We hold ourselves accountable to the public we serve by honoring fair, transparent policies and processes and seeking stakeholder input frequently. We are responsible stewards of public funds and the public trust.

We base research priorities on sound science, broad input and the potential for public benefit. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research supports the best science regardless of the source by adhering to a merit-based review process.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research welcomes potential research concepts from all sources. Depending on the state of science in your area of interest, your research concept may be primed for pursuit through a competitive grant program, a prize or challenge, or further exploration through a convening of experts. Upon review of the concept for alignment with FFAR’s program development criteria, FFAR may respond in one of the following ways:

» Develop the concept into a competitive research program or prize.

» Incorporate the concept into a program that is under development.

» Should the FFAR staff determine that the research concept does not align with current priorities and available funding, the concept will remain in our database for future consideration. As potential opportunities arise, we may connect you with groups pursuing similar goals. If you would prefer that your interest in a particular area remain confidential, you may opt out below.

Share Here: Concept Portal

Note: This is not a grant application, but rather a way for FFAR to receive concepts to be considered for development into research program areas. Receipt of a research concept does not bind FFAR to launching programs in that area nor entitle the submitter to receive funds from FFAR should a program be launched in that area. For further details regarding the process by which FFAR receives, evaluates, and develops concepts, please visit this page.  Should the FFAR staff be interested in discussing a research concept, we typically respond within 30 days.

Concept Overview: Please provide a high level overview of the research concept and the food or agriculture issue that it seeks to address. (Limit: 200 words).*

Under which FFAR Challenge Area(s) does the concept fit best?*
Soil HealthSustainable Water ManagementNext Generation CropsAdvanced Animal SystemsUrban Food SystemsHealth-Agriculture Nexus

Potential for Public-Private Partnership: Please list potential collaborative (non-funding) partners. FFAR will keep this information confidential.

Please list either specific organizations or general types of organizations that have expressed interested in supporting this research concept. (FFAR will keep this information confidential).

Impact: Please describe the concept's potential to yield actionable outcomes that fill critical gaps in the area(s) selected above. (Limit: 125 words).*

Transformation: Please expand upon the research concept's unique potential to transform or advance the agriculture research enterprise. (Limit: 125 words).*

Innovation: Please explain how this approach, concept, or potential operating model is unique. In other words, what are you suggesting that has not been done before? (Limit: 125 words).*

Complementarity: Is the suggested type of research being done elsewhere? If so, please describe how this particular concept would complement existing research. (Limit: 100 words).*

Budget Estimate: Please type the approximate dollar amount using numerical digits only (without commas) in the box below.*

What else would you like us to know? (Limit: 200 words).

Should the FFAR staff determine that the research concept does not align with current priorities and available funding, the concept will remain in our database for future consideration. As potential opportunities arise, we may connect you with groups pursuing similar goals. If you would prefer that your interest in a particular area remain confidential, you may opt out of this potential for "matchmaking" by checking the box below.

No, do not connect me with other potential partners. I prefer to keep my interest in this area confidential.

What happens next? 

  • Please review How We Work for details on our processes, from concept development to program announcements.
  • Join our email list to be kept up to date on future opportunities to engage with FFAR.

The FFAR Board of Directors includes 18 voting members, and five ex-officio members designated by Congress. FFAR’s non-voting ex officio members are the stewards of the Foundation’s close partnerships with the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Specifically, these members provide insight into the federal research enterprise and ensure that FFAR’s work complements USDA and NSF research.

Mississippi State University President Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum chairs the FFAR Board of Directors.


Appointed Members

Portrait of Dr. Kathryn J. Boor

Dr. Kathryn Boor

Vice Chair
Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Portrait of Dr. Doug Buhler

Dr. Doug Buhler

Director, MSU AgBioResearch and Assistant Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies


Dr. Doug Cameron

Managing Director
Portrait of Dr. Nancy Creamer

Dr. Nancy Creamer

Distinguished Professor of Horticulture and Sustainable and Community-Based Food Systems


Dr. Debby Delmer

Professor Emeritus

Ms. Beth Ford

President and CEO


Hon. Dan Glickman

Past Chair
Executive Director, Congressional Program

Dr. Rob Horsch

Retired Deputy Director, Agricultural Research and Development


Portrait of Mark Keenum

Dr. Mark Keenum

Chairman of the Board
Portrait of Dr. Michael Ladisch

Dr. Michael Ladisch

Director of the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering


Portrait of John R. Lumpkin, MD, MPH

John R. Lumpkin, MD, MPH

Portrait of Dr. Christopher Mallett

Dr. Chris Mallett

Retired Corporate Vice President, Research and Development


Dr. Pam Marrone

Founder and CEO
Portrait of Dr. Terry F. McElwain

Dr. Terry McElwain

Regents Professor Emeritus, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health


Portrait of Dr. Stanley Prusiner

Dr. Stanley Prusiner

Professor of Neurology and Director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Portrait of Danita Rodibaugh

Danita Rodibaugh



Mr. Bob Stallman

Past President

Dr. Alton Thompson

Executive Director


Ex Officio Board Members

Portrait of Sonny Perdue

Sonny Perdue

Secretary of Agriculture
Portrait of Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young

Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young

Administrator, Agricultural Research Service


Portrait of Dr. J Scott Angle

Dr. J. Scott Angle

Portrait of Dr. Joanne Tornow

Dr. Joanne Tornow

Assistant Director (Acting) for Biological Sciences
Designee of Dr. France Córdova, Director


Portrait of Scott Hutchins, Ph.D.

Scott Hutchins, Ph.D.

Deputy Under Secretary


Meeting and sustaining the growing global demand for food will require a scientific workforce committed to innovating the way food is grown, processed, and distributed. Funding early career faculty is one important way to cultivate a creative workforce who will train, encourage, and inspire future generations of agricultural and food scientists.

The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award is designed to provide the early investment needed to launch new faculty members into successful scientific careers in food and agriculture. Investing a substantial amount in faculty members within the first three years of their careers will allow them to pursue innovative and transformational ideas uninhibited by the pressure of identifying their next grant. The New Innovator Award seeks to promote career advancement of highly creative and promising new scientists who intend to make a long-term career commitment to research in food and agriculture and bring innovative, ground-breaking research initiatives and thinking to bear on problems facing food and agriculture.

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Mission, legislative history, how FFAR operates (public-private partnerships to award grants), staff bios, board bios