Scientific Program Director
Dr. Tim Kurt has been fascinated with biology and the natural world from a young age, which led him to pursue a career in the veterinary sciences and work with a wide range of animal species. He is the scientific program director for Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research’s (FFAR) Advanced Animal Systems Challenge Area, a position he has held since October 2016.
At FFAR, Kurt builds multi-stakeholder collaborative initiatives to address significant challenges. His portfolio includes the International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture (ICASA); a suite of technology development programs for improved animal welfare and productivity; projects on prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases; and the FFAR Vet Fellows student research program. His primary goal at FFAR is to leverage innovation for impact.
Prior to FFAR, he worked as a research scientist at the University of California, San Diego. In this post, he, designed experimental protocols and new transgenic animal models, evaluated small molecule inhibitors and presented research findings to scientific and medical audiences.
Kurt is a recipient of awards from the National Institutes of Health, the Morris Animal Foundation and the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Kurt studied veterinary medicine at Colorado State University, where in addition to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, he completed a doctorate on the determinants of susceptibility to cross-species infection. He spends his spare time outdoors, camping and fishing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.