About FFAR

The American food and agriculture enterprise has been a major influence in the global economy over the past two centuries through its innovation leadership.  That success is based on a strong partnership of industry, farmers and ranchers with research providers and the government.  With the global population set to approach 10 billion by 2050, American agriculture must be poised to address the challenge of ensuring that there is enough food to meet the growing demand, that it is readily accessible to all, and produced in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.

To meet this challenge, Congress established and funded the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. We support public – private partnerships that hold promise for the development and adoption of transformative food and agriculture research discoveries.

FFAR is unique because we:

  • Create novel research partnerships across the food and agriculture sector
  • Work nimbly to efficiently address emerging issues in food and agriculture
  • Leverage public dollars with private dollars to expand research impact
  • Fill research gaps to ensure great science supports thriving farms, reduces food insecurity, and supports better health.

Vision, Mission and Values

The Strategic Plan is guided by our:
  • Vision: We envision a world in which ever-innovating and collaborative science provides every person access to affordable, nutritious food grown on thriving farms;
  • Mission: We build unique partnerships to support innovative science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges; and
  • Values: Excellence, people and partnerships, innovation and integrity.

More about the Foundation’s Vision, Mission and Values.

Key Stakeholders

The Strategic Plan informs how we engage and serve our stakeholders:
  1. Generators of knowledge through research: academia, scientific experts, government and industry
  2. Supporters or cofounders of research: government, nonprofit, private industry
  3. End Users: farmers, consumers, industry

FFAR Strategic Priorities 2017-2021

Through 2021, FFAR will become a pivotal player in the food and agriculture research community. To fulfill our Congressional statute, FFAR is uniquely positioned to:


Strategic Priority 1: Evaluate potential gaps and emerging issues in food and agriculture.

Critical Issue: In the face of a significant population increase by 2050, and growing food insecurity rates in the US, the need for funding for food and agriculture research is more critical now than ever before. FFAR can play a significant role in bringing experts together to identify the most pressing issues and facilitate collaboration among these groups. FFAR will ensure that farmers, consumers, and other stakeholders have a voice in addressing these issues and benefit in a real way from the research conducted from these collaborations.

Strategic Priority 2: Facilitate public private partnerships to fund research that addresses the most pressing issues in food and agriculture

Critical Issue: Even in the face of this significant population increase, public funding for food and agriculture research has been steadily declining. FFAR is a firm believer in championing more funding for food and agriculture. We know this will only happen if we can demonstrate the tangible benefit of investing in food and agriculture research and attract new sources of funding.  Furthermore, because of FFAR’s close relationship with the public sector we are uniquely positioned to facilitate public and private collaboration and evaluate the impact of these innovative partnerships.

Strategic Priority 3: Grow the scientific talent pool to address critical food and agriculture issues

Critical Issue: Without a strong, diverse, and creative workforce, we will simply be unable to tackle issues of food and agriculture research in a productive way. Currently, there is limited funding available to attract the next generation to pursue careers in food and agriculture research. Sustainably nourishing the growing global community demands transformative discoveries from the best and brightest scientists.

The Process

How this Strategic Plan was created:

The strategic planning process for FFAR involved gathering input from FFAR Staff, the Executive Committee, advisory councils, external stakeholders, and the full Board. Our goal was to create a high level strategic plan that we can share with external stakeholders that clearly defines the priorities of our organization. We plan to use this strategic plan as a living document that we will revisit at least annually.  We will use this document as a guide for how we can best carry out the intent of our statute.

In January of 2015, FFAR engaged the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to support FFAR’s start up, strategic planning, and early action steps during a critically important phase of its organizational development. BCG developed an extensive Compendium Report for FFAR that helped guide future organizational decisions and served as background in creating the strategic plan. The most notable product to come out of this report was that FFAR created its initial research target areas and recognized four key operational functions that were unique to the organization: fund cutting edge research and development, convene to foster collaboration, build innovative partnerships, and build human capacity.

Over the summer of 2015, FFAR staff conducted stakeholder feedback on these initial research target areas and operational functions with over one hundred agriculture and food groups. These findings were summarized in a Stakeholder Analysis report. In September of 2015, FFAR’s inaugural executive director, Sally Rockey, joined FFAR.

In August of 2016, FFAR defined our seven Challenge Areas:

Challenge Areas may change over time as research needs vary.  2017-2019  priorities in each area are shown below:


Going Forward

Each fall, FFAR reviews our Challenge Areas for updates and we develop our annual business plan based on the above Strategic Priorities.  In this way, we can ensure FFAR achieves these important priorities.