• FFAR Awards MSU Grant to Decrease Feed Costs for Milk Production

    WASHINGTON and EAST LANSING (May 21 2019) – Feeding the 9 million US dairy cows requires millions of acres of…


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  • Study reports breakthrough in measuring plant improvements to boost food production

    CHAMPAIGN (May 16, 2019) — An international team is using advanced tools to develop crops that give farmers more options for sustainably…


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  • FFAR and OFRF Promote Soil Health and Profits for Organic Farmers in the Northern Great Plains

    SANTA CRUZ and WASHINGTON (May 14, 2019) – There is a lack of university research on organic legume production and organic variety development,…


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  • Ohio State Mansfield and FFAR Launch $2 Million Food System Project

     Mansfield, OH and Washington, D.C. (May 2, 2019)– The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a matching grant to the Ohio State University at Mansfield to launch a $2 million urban sustainable food system project that will increase access to fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops while supporting the local economy. The project was developed and is being managed by Associate Professor of Environmental History Kip Curtis at The Ohio State University at Mansfield. The microfarm network will progress over three years, allowing  researchers and growers to calibrate the growing, harvesting and marketing processes for the local setting. In the meantime, a parallel interdisciplinary research team will measure the ways in which this embedded local production system impacts a range of local issues from food insecurity, to urban beautification, to food literacy and educational achievement. The Mansfield Microfarm Project will provide both training and microfarm kits to approximately a dozen initial producers, and help them farm cooperatively and aggregate their produce for marketability. The microfarms will create a food production system that, when fully operating, will produce and sell enough fresh produce to become fully-sustainable economic drivers in the Mansfield-area economy. “This pilot effort of microfarms will establish a food system in the city of Mansfield that can collectively generate the volume and quality of specialty crops to compete for commercial markets,” said Curtis. “It will keep local dollars circulating within the community, rather than exporting them out, while promoting healthier lifestyles by providing residents with access to fresh, local produce right there in the neighborhood.” The project started in 2016 when Dr. Curtis brought his concept to faculty and staff participating in the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT), an Ohio State Discovery Themes initiative, which then catalyzed a cross-disciplinary conversation to develop the project. Curtis also led a group of six Ohio State Mansfield students in the design and construction of a demonstration urban microfarm on the Ohio State Mansfield Campus, which consisted of two high tunnels, housing raised plant beds, as well as several outside plant beds on a one-third-acre lot. They completed construction in the fall of 2017. When fully implemented, the local production pilot system will represent a scalable fresh produce marketing core for local vegetable producers. “Inconsistent access to affordable nutritious food is a problem that plagues communities nationwide,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Sally Rockey. “This project has the potential to transform agriculture production while simultaneously fostering local economic development. We are excited to pilot the microfarm model and explore the impact for the Mansfield community.” “This project is fundamentally focused on developing and fine-tuning an urban microfarm aggregation system designed to create genuine opportunity for participant producers in Mansfield, Ohio,” said Curtis. “The potential impact, however, extends well beyond the original microfarmers and one small urban aggregation system. If successful, such models present opportunities for urban growers in other redeveloping cities across Ohio and beyond.” The FFAR grant provides one-to-one matching funding to develop and study a pilot community-based sustainable food production and aggregation system in Mansfield, Ohio. The match was made possible in large part through partnerships with the North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Mind and Body Align and Braintree Business Solutions, as well as the generous support of the Fran and Warren Rupp Donor Advised Fund of the Richland County Foundation. The FFAR funding is also matched in part by donations from the new Sustainability Institute at Ohio State, as well as in-kind support from researchers in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Fisher College of Business, Knowlton School of Architecture, Department of History, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and College of Social Work. “This is truly a community effort,” Curtis said. “Our partners really hit it out of the park with their generous support for the vision.” ### Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization originally established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges. FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Ph.D., and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking CONTACT: Colleen Klemczewski, 703-204-2605, cklemczewski@foundationfar.org About Ohio State Mansfield: The Ohio State University at Mansfield offers an academic environment that’s challenging but supportive as students become part of an academic tradition that leads the way in shaping tomorrow’s world. Students discover world-class teaching minds passionate about connecting to other disciplines while discovering new ways to see the world. With access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors, Ohio State Mansfield is where learning comes to life. Research, internships, education abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.


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  • FFAR Grant to Accurately Predict Food’s Shelf Life to Reduce Food Waste

    ITHACA and WASHINGTON (April 30, 2019) –An estimated 40 percent of food in the United States is wasted, often because consumers unknowingly dispose of food before it expires. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $590,000 Seeding Solutions Grant to Cornell University to develop technology that provides consumers with a more accurate shelf-life predication for perishable products. The FFAR grant has been matched with funding from the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, New York State Dairy Promotion Order, and Chobani for a total $1.56 million investment. The “best-by” labels on perishable products indicate when the food is at peak quality. However, many consumers mistakenly interpret these labels as an expiration date and discard food on or before that date without realizing that the product is safe for consumption. Without a way to accurately predict shelf-life, food waste has become increasingly common and costly. Milk spoilage alone costs the United States $6.4 billion annually. Cornell’s researchers will develop models that predict milk spoilage and shelf life as well as the effectiveness of interventions that predict when food spoils and how to prevent consumers from disposing of items that are still safe. The project will initially focus on milk, applying the results to other perishable food and beverages. Ultimately, the research team aims to develop way for consumers to scan a QR code linked to a time/temperature indicator on a food product, providing a precise estimate of the item’s remaining shelf life. “To sustainably feed a growing population, it is imperative that we advance technology to accurately predict food spoilage,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR’s executive director. “This research will bring us closer to predicting the expiration of perishable food, which is essential for reducing avoidable food waste while ensuring nutritious food is safely consumed.” FFAR’s Seeding Solutions grant program is an open call for bold ideas that address a pressing food and agriculture issues in one of the Foundation’s Challenge Areas. Cornell’s research supports FFAR’s 2018 Food Waste and Loss Challenge Area, currently the Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area. FFAR’s work in this area supports innovative, systems level approaches aimed at reducing food and nutritional insecurity and improving human health in the United State and around the globe. “This project represents an exciting application of digital agriculture tools to reduce food waste and further improve the sustainability of our food supply,” said Dr. Martin Wiedmann, professor of Food Science at Cornell University and the principal investigator of this project. ### Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization originally established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges.  FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Ph.D., and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking CONTACT: Colleen Klemczewski, 202.204.2605, cklemczewski@foundationfar.org Cornell University The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and home to Cornell University’s second largest population of students, faculty and staff. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: natural and human systems; food, energy and environmental resources; and social, physical and economic well-being. The Cornell CALS experience empowers us to explore the boundaries of knowledge, supported by the leading minds of today and surrounded by the leading minds of tomorrow. Connect: @CornellCALS


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  • Innovative Consortium Reduces Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste

    WASHINGTON and AMES, IOWA (April 17, 2019) – Food loss and waste is a global problem that negatively impacts the bottom line of businesses and farmers, wastes limited resources and damages the environment. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), The Rockefeller Foundation and Iowa State University today launched the Consortium for Innovation in Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction at the 2019 Iowa International Outreach Symposium. Through this consortium,  thought leaders and experts from across the globe will work in tandem with industry and nonprofit organizations to address social, economic and environmental impacts from food loss and waste. “Feeding a growing global population demands innovation at all levels — from planting to processing to consumption. This consortium will help farmers across the globe use technology to continue using resources efficiently,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR’s executive director. “Optimizing food production practices is critical for ensuring that farmers are profitable, food is plentiful and accessible, and the environment is preserved.” Due to the volume of food that is moved globally, food loss and waste affects producers, manufacturers, distributors and end-users. More than 40 percent of fruits and vegetables in developing regions spoil before they can be consumed. These goods include mangoes, avocadoes, pineapples, cocoa, and bananas, many of which are exported to the United States. This loss negatively impacts the bottom line for farmers, who are not compensated for their products. Consumers then don’t have access to these popular foods. Additionally, food waste forces farmers to use precious natural resources producing food that either never makes it to the supermarket or is otherwise thrown out by consumers due to quality issues, creating a significant drain on environmental resources. In 2016, The Rockefeller Foundation launched the YieldWise Initiative aimed at reducing both food loss in developing nations like Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania, and food waste in developed markets like the United States. In sub-Saharan Africa, YieldWise provides farmers with access to segmented markets, technologies and solutions that curb preventable crop loss and facilitates training that helps them solidify buyer agreements with markets in African communities. “To nourish, sustainably, nearly 10 billion people by 2050, we must implement a menu of solutions that simultaneously shift diets toward plant-based foods, close the yield gap, and reduce food loss and waste,” said Rafael Flor, Director, Food, The Rockefeller Foundation. “This is paramount to meeting both the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 12. Failing to reduce food loss and waste will make the challenge of achieving a sustainable food future significantly more difficult.” Food loss and waste highlights the inefficiencies in our food system. According to the FAO[1], nearly 1.3 billion tons of food—costing roughly $940 billion—are either lost or wasted yearly, generating about 8 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. Food is lost more at the consumption stage in higher-income countries, while more food is lost at handling and storage stages in lower-income regions. This consortium will work collaboratively to develop a scalable approach for adoption of the YieldWise model and provide farmers with cost-effective strategies and technologies that link their crop supply to the market demand. This will allow farmers to gain more value from their crops and become more profitable, while also stimulating local economic growth and improving the resiliency of rural communities. “Our consortium approach will build academic and entrepreneurial capacity of the next generation by engaging researchers and students in multi-national, multi-disciplinary teams in the project identification, planning, and execution phases together with professionals from the private and public sectors,” said Dirk Maier, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University and the consortium director. FFAR is contributing $2.78 million for this three-year project, which partner organizations from around the world are matching for a $5.56 million project budget. Participating institutions include The Rockefeller Foundation, Iowa State University, USA; University of Maryland, USA; Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands; Zamorano University, Honduras; University of São Paulo, Brazil; Stellenbosch University, South Africa; University of Nairobi, Kenya; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana; and the Volcani Center, Israel. ### Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization originally established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges. FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Ph.D., and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking CONTACT: Colleen Klemczewski, 202-204-2605, cklemczewski@foundationfar.org About The Rockefeller FoundationThe Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, policy and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, the Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas and conversations. [1] FAO. 2015. Food wastage footprint & climate change.  Rome: UN FAO.


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  • FFAR Grant Helps Heat-Stressed Dairy Cows Weather Increasing Temperatures

    ITHACA and WASHINGTON (April 11, 2019) – Heat-stressed dairy cows cost the American dairy industry an alarming $1.5 billion annually. With temperatures expected to rise, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $736,392 Seeding Solutions Grant to Cornell University to improve dairy cows’ ability to withstand extreme heat. The FFAR grant is matched with funding from AB Vista, Adisseo, Balchem Corporation, Berg + Schmidt, Elanco, Phibro Animal Health, and Vetagro S.p.A. for a total $1.47 million investment. The demand for dairy products and milk globally is expected to increase 57 percent by 2050. Rising temperatures will further compromise the American dairy industry in meeting future demand. Dairy cows are unable to efficiently produce milk when their body temperatures rise above normal, a condition known as hyperthermia-induced heat stress. Heat-stressed dairy cows also have reduced fertility, are more likely to develop infectious and metabolic diseases, and may succumb to premature death. According to Dr. Joseph McFadden, Assistant Professor of Cattle Biology and Principal Investigator at Cornell University, “Climate change and extreme heat represent key barriers for the sustainable production of milk that meets consumer expectations for quality as well as the rising global demand for dairy foods. We must act now to develop innovative solutions that revolutionize how we feed heat-stressed cows to ensure optimum animal health and welfare while achieving gains in efficient milk production.” Heat stress in cattle is linked to a condition commonly called leaky gut. Specifically, hyperthermia can lead to bacterial endotoxins leaking from the gut, which causes liver inflammation. In response, the cow’s body pulls resources from producing milk to preserve health. Researchers will start by understanding the relationship between dairy cattle’s gut health, intestinal permeability, liver health, immunity and milk production. Working with industry, McFadden’s team will determine whether heat-stressed dairy cows can recover if fed specific remedies. Ultimately, this project aims to identify nutrition-based solutions that improves dairy cows’ ability to adapt to extreme heat. “Heat stress is an urgent animal health and welfare concern, and it also creates additional pressures for the nation’s dairy farmers,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Sally Rockey. “FFAR is optimistic that Cornell’s research can improve the health of dairy cows, increase efficient milk production and help American dairy farmers protect their livestock.” FFAR’s Seeding Solutions Grant program is an open call for bold ideas that address a pressing food and agriculture issues in one of the Foundation’s Challenge Areas. Cornell’s research furthers FFAR’s 2018 Protein Challenge Area, now the Advanced Animal Systems Challenge Area. The work in this Challenge Area supports sustainable animal systems through innovative technologies, environmentally sound production practices, and advancements in animal health and welfare. This research project has the potential to not only meet FFAR’s goals, but also develop solutions that can improve the America dairy industry. McFadden’s team will further partner with industry collaborators to reduce the use of limited natural resources and drive down dairy production costs in support of a more sustainable and economically viable American dairy industry. The consortium of allied industry partners that committed support demonstrates the urgent need for new strategies to improve gut and liver health in heat-stressed cows. Their involvement is essential to ensure translation of discoveries into practical on-farm dairy nutrition strategies that improve heat stress resilience in cows. McFadden will work with each sponsor and the Cornell PRO-DAIRY program to disseminate knowledge in an annual editorial series called “Beat the Heat: Dairy Nutrition Strategies for Optimum Cow Health” that will be shared with thousands of American dairy farmers. “The American dairy industry is a leading domestic and international supplier of dairy. This translational research program in collaboration with industry has the potential to revolutionize dairy cattle nutrition to ensure that our American dairy farmers will continue to produce a high- quality food. Global population growth and climate change are real challenges and we aim to develop real solutions,” said McFadden. Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization originally established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges.  FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Ph.D., and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and home to Cornell University’s second largest population of students, faculty and staff. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: natural and human systems; food, energy and environmental resources; and social, physical and economic well-being. Connect: @CornellCALS


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  • FFAR Awards $1 Million Grant to Reduce Food Insecurity

    WASHINGTON and CHICAGO (April 09, 2019) – Millions of Americans struggle with food insecurity. To help food assistance agencies provide consistent access to nutritious food, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $1 million Seeding Solutions Grant to Feeding America. This grant will evaluate the Regional Produce Cooperative model’s effectiveness in reducing food insecurity. The FFAR grant has been matched with funding from Target, the University of Illinois, the Rachel Ray Foundation and Feeding America for a total $2 million investment. “We are very excited about our new partnership with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research,” says Matt Knott, President of Feeding America. “This grant opportunity directly aligns with Feeding America’s strategy to increase access to nutritious food and reduce food insecurity through innovative distribution models which expand access to fresh produce in an effort to improve nutrition and support better health outcomes for people facing hunger.” Feeding America established Regional Produce Cooperatives in 2017 to direct a greater variety of produce to food banks at a lower cost. Currently, seven Regional Produce Cooperatives are operating nationally, and there is a growing demand for more. While the cooperatives have the potential to improve the quantity, variety and quality of food at food banks, Feeding America has not yet conducted rigorous evaluations to determine the program’s overall effectiveness. FFAR’s grant will help Feeding America examine the effect of the Regional Produce Cooperative on the charitable food system. The research will use surveys and data analysis to determine the extent to which the Cooperatives decrease food waste, shorten the time between source and distribution, and increase access to produce. Ultimately, the goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of Regional Produce Cooperatives to increase consumption of nutritious produce and decrease food insecurity. “FFAR’s work aims to provide everyone access to nutritious food. Too many suffer from food insecurity nationwide,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR’s executive director. “This research has the potential to deliver significant, real-world results that will positively impact the lives of those struggling to put dinner on the table.” FFAR’s Seeding Solutions Grant program is an open call for bold ideas that address pressing food and agriculture issues and further research in one of FFAR’s Challenge Areas. Feeding America’s research furthers FFAR’s 2018 Making My Plate Your Plate Challenge Area, now the Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge area, which supports reducing food and nutritional insecurity in a broad socioeconomic and environmental context. ### Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization originally established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges.  FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Ph.D., and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking CONTACT: Colleen Klemczewski, 202.204.2605, cklemczewski@foundationfar.org


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  • Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) Consortium to Revolutionize Agriculture

    First-of-its-Kind Consortium Develops Crops Intended for Indoor Agriculture WASHINGTON (April 2, 2019) – The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is launching the Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) Consortium, a public-private partnership that transcends the bounds of traditional agriculture to develop flavorful, nutritious crops specially intended for indoor agriculture. Sustainably feeding a growing global population requires researchers to examine innovative food production approaches. One approach gaining traction is controlled environment agriculture (CEA), also known as indoor agriculture. Worldwide, interest in indoor agriculture is booming. Yet, CEA research largely focuses on design elements for the indoor systems, such as vertical productions facilities and lighting, not the plants themselves. “The majority of the crops grown indoors have been developed over thousands of years for outdoor production,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR’s executive director. “While understanding the indoor system’s design elements is important, PIP seeks to understand which environmental and genetic factors help crops thrive indoors.” The PIP collaborative convenes a diverse array of participants representing aspects of the indoor agriculture industry. The collaborative pools resources to fund joint research that produces nutritious, flavorful crops that can grow anywhere, year-round, profitably. PIP’s research will explore increasing nutrient content and yields, growing crops with less energy and understanding how crops perform best in CEAs. “Do you remember the taste of tomatoes from your childhood? If you’re like me, every summer you complain that commercial tomatoes today are not the same. Commercial tomatoes are abundant, shelf-stable and disease resistance – but not perceived as tasty as they once were,” noted John Reich, FFAR Scientific Program Director. “However, PIP’s research could produce a tomato plant that grows quickly indoors, tastes great and is highly nutritious. This plant would require less energy to grow indoors, potentially increasing affordability, and could be grown anywhere regardless of environmental constraints.” With a growing population, shifts in consumer demand for healthier, tastier food and challenges arising from a changing climate, producing crops indoors can mitigate these challenges and meet demand. CEA is successfully growing lettuce and other leafy greens profitably. PIP’s research seeks to make CEA an option for growing a variety of crops, including leafy greens and herbs, tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries. Initial PIP projects will focus on improving nutritional content and changing the size and shape of the plant. This research has implications for a wide variety of agricultural environments, including outdoor agriculture and space. For farmers planning outdoors, PIP’s research has the potential to reduce strain on the environment, make crops more resilient to stresses, bolster food and nutritional security and shorten the supply chain for producers. The research is also useful for government agencies and corporations interested in growing food in space for long-term space exploration. FFAR is investing $7.5 million in PIP, and with matching funds from participants, the consortium will invest a minimum of $15 million to develop flavorful, nutritious crops for indoor agriculture. PIP’s participants represent world-class indoor growers, breeders, genetics companies and agricultural equipment leaders, including AeroFarms, BASF, Benson Hill Biosystems, Fluence Bioengineering, Intrexon, Japan Plant Factory Association and Priva. ### About the Precision Indoor Plants Consortium Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) is a public-private partnership created by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to produce new flavorful, nutritious crops specially intended for indoor agriculture. By focusing on innovative science and technology, the consortium’s research efforts will increase our ability to produce crops that are high-value, of consistent quality, and desired by consumers. Ultimately, PIP can help food producers grow flavorful, nutritious food indoors. FFAR’s initial $7.5 million investment is matched by the PIP participants for a total investment of $15 million to develop flavorful, nutritious crops for indoor agriculture. PIP’s participants include AeroFarms, BASF, Benson Hill Biosystems, Fluence Bioengineering, Intrexon, Japan Plant Factory Association and Priva.


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  • FFAR Announces $4M Animal Welfare Technology Research Initiative, In Partnership With McDonald’s

     SMART Broiler Initiative Harnesses Technology to Improve Poultry Welfare Assessments WASHINGTON (April 2, 2019) – The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) announces the launch of the SMART Broiler, a research initiative offering $4 million for research supporting the development and commercialization of automated monitoring tools that quantitatively assess key animal welfare indicators in broiler chickens. FFAR is excited to partner with McDonald’s Corporation as a cofounder on this initiative. The SMART Broiler program is now accepting applications to improve animal welfare. Existing methods for assessing animal welfare rely on human observation and subjective scoring. This initiative aims to identify technology solutions to provide objective and comprehensive information about broiler welfare across the supply chain. “FFAR is committed to improving animal welfare. Developing monitoring tools is critical to understanding and improving animal welfare across the broiler industry,” said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey. “The SMART Broiler program will not only improve the accuracy of welfare assessments, but also enhance producer efficiency and profitability.” The SMART Broiler program will develop tools to quantitatively assess and collect information regarding key welfare indicators such as walking ability and behavior. The Sensors, Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technologies (SMART) developed during this initiative will be tested in McDonald’s suppliers’ commercial broiler facilities, encouraging their adoption on a wide scale. These tools have the potential to improve welfare for 9 billion birds annually in the U.S. and over 20 billion worldwide. “This work builds on our decades-long commitment and progress on animal welfare. We are excited to partner with FFAR to identify innovative, scalable technology solutions that will allow our supply chain to monitor animals’ behavior and welfare across diverse, global supply chains at commercial scale and ultimately help drive improved welfare outcomes,” Keith Kenny, Vice President of Global Sustainability, McDonald’s. “FFAR is pleased to partner with McDonald’s to develop tools that improve animal welfare. Testing these tools with one of the largest food companies has the potential to make considerable impact industry wide,” noted FFAR Scientific Program Director, Tim Kurt. SMART Broiler grants will be awarded in two phases to multiple, cross-disciplinary teams. The research objective is to rapidly develop the hardware components, data management and analytics necessary to assess broiler chicken welfare on the farm. The initial funding phase will award a maximum of four grants, each receiving up to $500,000. SMART Broiler phase I is currently accepting pre-proposals until May 29, 2019. The SMART Broiler website includes information about applying for these grants. During the second research phase, those awardees whose technology solutions demonstrated promise and delivered value will receive up to $1,000,000 in additional funding to continue to refine and validate their technologies. The end goal of the program is to develop commercially-feasible tools that can deployed worldwide. ### Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges. FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Ph.D., and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking


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