• FFAR Grant Establishes Pacific Bluefin Tuna Egg Hatchery

    Project Has Potential to Blow Tuna Market Out of the WaterWASHINGTON, D.C. (March 11, 2019) – Currently, Pacific Bluefin Tuna (PBFT) farming production relies on catching wild juvenile tuna and raising them to maturity before distributing the fish to markets. This practice is unsustainable, as it increases fishing pressure on the wild population. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is awarding a $945,000 grant to Ichthus Unlimited, LLC to cultivate PBFT eggs as part of a sustainable model for farm production. “Today 98 percent of tuna ranching relies on wild-captured fish for the stocking of net pens. This adds to the already massive fishing pressure on wild bluefin tuna populations,” said Alejandro Buentello, president of Ichthus Unlimited, LLC. “Hatchery-reared tuna will not only make it possible to stock cages without fishing, but it can also be used as a stock enhancement strategy to empower wild tuna populations to rebound more rapidly. It is a proactive rather than reactive strategy.” Ichthus Unlimited, LLC will establish a hatchery in the San Diego Bay area to cultivate PBFT eggs and grow them to juvenile fish which can then be distributed to tuna farms to mature. Acquiring tuna from the hatchery, rather than from the wild population, should reduce rates of overfishing and help stabilize the wild population. At only three percent of its original population, PBFT are on the verge of being placed on the endangered species list. “Bluefin tuna aquaculture represents a major new high-value market for US farmers, but there is much science to be done to produce the fish entirely under farmed conditions,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR executive director. “This research has the potential to not only stabilize the wild population, but also create economic opportunities in farming the delicacy.” As the “holy grail” of aquaculture, bluefin tuna can sell for tens of thousands and occasionally millions of dollars per fish. It is estimated that bluefin species products generate approximately $2-2.5 billion in value worldwide each year. Increases in tuna production would also create jobs and economic gains, particularly for coastal communities in California and the Gulf of Mexico. This innovative research has the potential to reduce the overfishing of PBFT, aid in restoration efforts, and stimulate economic growth. Despite the popularity of PBFT, few indoor facilities in the world have the expertise needed to raise PBFT from eggs. The team at Ichthus Unlimited, LLC will collaborate with these indoor hatching facilities and leverage their combined knowledge to successfully implement this practice. FFAR has convened world-renowned experts to develop a practical approach that enhances PBFT egg production, and subsequently, produces more tuna. The private-public partnership includes Ichthus Unlimited, the Illinois Soybean Association, Texas A&M University, and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography. ### 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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  • FFAR Seeks Pre-Proposal Applications for 2019 Seeding Solutions Grants

    Seeding Solutions Pre-Proposals Accepted Through April 19, 2019 WASHINGTON (March 1, 2019) – For the third consecutive year, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is excited to open applications for Seeding Solutions, its flagship competitive grant program. Seeding Solutions Grants are an open call for innovative research projects that support one of FFAR’s Challenge Areas. “Every year we are amazed by the breadth of Seeding Solutions proposals that creatively tackle the most pressing challenges in food and agriculture,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR’s executive director. “FFAR is eager to invest in today’s pioneering ideas that have the potential to transform our food and agriculture system tomorrow.” The Seeding Solutions Grant program emphasizes the importance of fostering unique partnerships, requiring applicants to secure matching funds from non-federal sources, including but not limited to, private sector, non-profits, commodity and trade groups, state governments and/or other groups not traditionally affiliated with the agriculture industry. FFAR is accepting pre-proposals for the 2019 Seeding Solutions funding opportunity through April 19, 2019. More information about the grant application process is available on the Seeding Solutions Grant website. “Solving food and agriculture’s most intractable problems is a primary focus for us at FFAR, but it’s only half the challenge. The other half is getting these solutions to farmers and producers who can benefit from them. The Seeding Solutions Grants are designed to both research the solutions and work with partners to develop them to scale. This twofold objective is why these projects have the potential for major impact,” said Rockey. FFAR awarded nearly $8 million to innovative projects during the 2017 Seeding Solutions program, which when matched, invested $16.6 million in agricultural research and innovation. ### 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


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  • 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. ### 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.


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  • FFAR Launches International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture

    ICASA accelerates innovation and knowledge across the livestock supply chainWASHINGTON (January 30, 2019) – The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) today launched the International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture (ICASA), a public-private partnership to advance research on antimicrobial stewardship in animal agriculture and improve animal health and welfare. Antibiotics are extremely valuable tools in the effort to protect animal health. Maintaining the efficacy of antibiotics is a highly complex issue, affecting both human and animal health, and it is a top priority for veterinarians and livestock producers. The responsible and judicious use of antibiotics is key to addressing this challenge, which impacts the entire supply chain and is further complicated by factors that influence animal health, including genetics, nutrition, infectious diseases, environmental stressors and other factors. The purpose of ICASA is to accelerate innovation and improve antibiotic stewardship by building the cross-sector partnerships critical to making advances on a broad scale. The Consortium will uncover long-term solutions to major drivers of antibiotic use by field-testing new technologies and management practices. Ultimately, the Consortium aims to develop and publish results that improve animal health and welfare, promote responsible and judicious antibiotic use, and benefit animal agriculture as well as the general public. “ICASA has the potential to have extraordinary impact. The collaborative framework brings together exceptional expertise and significant resources to tackle major challenges in livestock production. Working together is critical to improving animal health and welfare and preserving the efficacy of antibiotics for both animals and people,” said Tim Kurt, scientific program director at FFAR. Collectively, ICASA member organizations represent approximately 40 percent of all fed beef cattle marketed in the U.S., through operations that feed over 2.75 million head of cattle and provide veterinary services to an additional 2 million head of cattle. The Consortium includes three of the world’s largest companies that process or sell beef, pork and chicken products, along with two livestock associations that together represent over 85,000 producers. ICASA is the first research consortium to bring together participants representing all stages of the U.S. livestock supply chain, from producers to restaurant chains, to accelerate improvement in animal welfare and judicious antibiotic use. Private-sector participants are matching FFAR’s initial $7.5 million investment in ICASA, resulting in a total investment of $15 million towards innovative animal health and antimicrobial stewardship research. ICASA projects will initially focus on animal health issues that underlie significant challenges to welfare and reducing the need for antimicrobial use in beef and pork. ICASA will also support cross-species projects focused on animal health and welfare monitoring. Understanding the diseases that drive antibiotic use will allow producers to find alternatives while maintaining animal health. “It’s a truly unique opportunity when 12 organizations work together to solve major industry challenges,” said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey. “Not only does ICASA represent one of the largest investments in antibiotic stewardship and livestock welfare research, it’s bringing the right people to the table. ICASA has the potential to advance animal agriculture in amazing ways.” ### About the International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture The International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture (ICASA) is a public-private partnership created by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to advance research on antimicrobial stewardship in animal agriculture. ICASA’s research promotes the judicious use of antibiotics, advances animal health and wellness, and increases transparency in food production practices. FFAR’s initial $7.5 million investment is matched by the ICASA participants for a total investment of $15 million in antimicrobial stewardship research. ICASA’s founding participants include: Advanced Animal Diagnostics, the Beef Alliance, Cactus Research, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, HyPlains Feedyard, JBS USA, McDonald’s, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Pork Board, the Noble Research Institute, Tyson Foods, and Veterinary Research and Consulting Services.


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  • Join us in congratulating Elizabeth Ainsworth

    Elizabeth Ainsworth, USDA Agricultural Research Service, will receive the 2019 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences. How will the world eat in the face of climate change and other threats? That question dominates Ainsworth’s pioneering research, which has helped to reveal how man-made atmospheric changes will affect the physiology and growth of crops around the world. Ainsworth led the evolution of the SoyFACE Global Change Research Facility, where she serves as lead investigator. There, she has conducted groundbreaking research to show how crops such as maize and soybeans will be affected by increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and ozone in combination with drought and other environmental stresses, as well as possible solutions. The work recently revealed that a large portion of the United States harvest of corn and soybean was lost due to ozone pollution over the past 20 years. Ainsworth was among the first to use functional genomic and metabolomics approaches to understanding mechanisms of response to global change, and has recently used quantitative genetic approaches to dissect plant responses to these changes. In addition to her research itself, Ainsworth is also recognized for her tireless advocacy for science, both as a science ambassador and as a role model for the next generation of scientists. She frequently speaks to the media about climate change, and she started the Pollen Power Camp to encourage junior high-school girls to consider science careers. As an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Ainsworth has also mentored countless university students and postdoctoral researchers, helping to ensure that a new wave of professional biologists will follow her lead for many years to come. ### The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences recognizes research by a mid-career scientist (defined as up to 20 years since completion of PhD) at a U.S. institution who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. The prize is endowed through generous gifts from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences is presented with a medal and a $100,000 prize.


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  • FFAR Seeks Nominations for 2019 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award

    WASHINGTON (January 16, 2019) – The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) today begins accepting nominations for the 2019 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award. This award supports early-career scientists pursuing research that sustainably enhances agricultural production or improves health through food. FFAR will grant as many as 10 awards, and each awardee may receive up to $600,000 (including matching funds), over three years. “The future of agriculture will be defined by an innovative scientific workforce that aims to modernize how food is grown, processed and distributed,” said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey. “The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award is a unique opportunity to support the emerging superstars in agriculture and food research. We are excited to bring their ideas to the table, and ultimately take their research to fruition through this program.” The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award provides early-career scientists the investment needed to launch successful scientific careers in food and agriculture. By investing in scientists and faculty members at the onset of their careers, this award allows them to pursue research uninhibited by the pressure of identifying the next grant. The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award is reserved for highly creative, promising scientists whose ground-breaking research has the potential to address major challenges facing food and agriculture. Institutions of higher education, nonprofit research institutions and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are encouraged to nominate up to two candidates for the Award who hold tenure-track or equivalent positions and meet the eligibility criteria specified in the Call for Nominations. Applications from eligible nominees will be evaluated on their research program proposals as well as a demonstrated commitment to mentoring future generations of agricultural and food scientists. The deadline for submitting nominations is February 28, 2019 at 3pm EST. In December 2018, the nine recipients of the 2018 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award were granted a total of $4.67 million from FFAR and matching funders. ### 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. Learn more: www.foundationfar.org  Connect: @FoundationFAR


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  • Scientists engineer shortcut for photosynthetic glitch, boost crop growth by 40 percent

    RIPE Cassava SoyFACE Field TrialsURBANA (January 3, 2019) – Plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis; however, most crops on the planet are plagued by a photosynthetic glitch, and to deal with it, evolved an energy-expensive process called photorespiration that drastically suppresses their yield potential. Today, researchers from the University of Illinois and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service report in the journal Science that crops engineered with a photorespiratory shortcut are 40 percent more productive in real-world agronomic conditions. “We could feed up to 200 million additional people with the calories lost to photorespiration in the Midwestern U.S. each year,” said principal investigator Donald Ort, the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Science and Crop Sciences at Illinois’ Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. “Reclaiming even a portion of these calories across the world would go a long way to meeting the 21st Century’s rapidly expanding food demands—driven by population growth and more affluent high-calorie diets.” This landmark study is part of Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE), an international research project that is engineering crops to photosynthesize more efficiently to sustainably increase worldwide food productivity with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the U.K. Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). Photosynthesis uses the enzyme Rubisco—the planet’s most abundant protein—and sunlight energy to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugars that fuel plant growth and yield. Over millennia, Rubisco has become a victim of its own success, creating an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Unable to reliably distinguish between the two molecules, Rubisco grabs oxygen instead of carbon dioxide about 20 percent of the time, resulting in a plant-toxic compound that must be recycled through the process of photorespiration. “Photorespiration is anti-photosynthesis,” said lead author Paul South, a research molecular biologist with the Agricultural Research Service, who works on the RIPE project at Illinois. “It costs the plant precious energy and resources that it could have invested in photosynthesis to produce more growth and yield.” Photorespiration normally takes a complicated route through three compartments in the plant cell. Scientists engineered alternate pathways to reroute the process, drastically shortening the trip and saving enough resources to boost plant growth by 40 percent. This is the first time that an engineered photorespiration fix has been tested in real-world agronomic conditions. “Much like the Panama Canal was a feat of engineering that increased the efficiency of trade, these photorespiratory shortcuts are a feat of plant engineering that prove a unique means to greatly increase the efficiency of photosynthesis,” said RIPE Director Stephen Long, the Ikenberry Endowed University Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at Illinois. The team engineered three alternate routes to replace the circuitous native pathway. To optimize the new routes, they designed genetic constructs using different sets of promoters and genes, essentially creating a suite of unique roadmaps. They stress tested these roadmaps in 1,700 plants to winnow down the top performers. Over two years of replicated field studies, they found that these engineered plants developed faster, grew taller, and produced about 40 percent more biomass, most of which was found in 50-percent-larger stems. The team tested their hypotheses in tobacco: an ideal model plant for crop research because it is easier to modify and test than food crops, yet unlike alternative plant models, it develops a leaf canopy and can be tested in the field. Now, the team is translating these findings to boost the yield of soybean, cowpea, rice, potato, tomato, and eggplant. “Rubisco has even more trouble picking out carbon dioxide from oxygen as it gets hotter, causing more photorespiration,” said co-author Amanda Cavanagh, an Illinois postdoctoral researcher working on the RIPE project. “Our goal is to build better plants that can take the heat today and in the future, to help equip farmers with the technology they need to feed the world.” While it will likely take more than a decade for this technology to be translated into food crops and achieve regulatory approval, RIPE and its sponsors are committed to ensuring that smallholder farmers, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, will have royalty-free access to all of the project’s breakthroughs. This image slider demonstrates the difference in size between modified and unmodified plants.###   Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) is engineering staple food crops to more efficiently turn the sun’s energy into yield to sustainably increase worldwide food productivity, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the U.K. Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). RIPE is led by the University of Illinois in partnership with the Australian National University; Chinese Academy of Sciences; Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; Lancaster University; Louisiana State University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Essex; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.   Editor’s notes: More information, including a copy of the paper, can be found online at the Science press package webpage at http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/sci. You will need your user ID and password to access this information. Otherwise, contact the Science press team at +1-202-326-6440 or scipak@aaas.org. Pictures related to this work are available online. B-roll and other multimedia are available upon request. Media Contact: Claire Benjamin RIPE Communications Coordinator claire@illinois.edu 217-244-0941


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  • FFAR Applauds President Trump and Congressional Leaders on Passage of 2018 Farm Bill

    WASHINGTON (December 20, 2018) – The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) applauds Congressional leaders today on the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The bipartisan bill includes $185 million for agricultural research through FFAR’s unique public-private partnerships. “I’m proud that FFAR has support on Capitol Hill and the confidence of our elected leaders,” said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey. “FFAR’s successful public-private partnership model will double the 2018 Farm Bill investment, providing at least $370 million in new agriculture research funding that benefits farmers, consumers and taxpayers.” FFAR was created in the 2014 Farm Bill to build public-private partnerships that support innovative science addressing food and agriculture’s most intractable issues. Since then, FFAR has partnered with industry, nonprofit and academic institutions to fund research that benefits agricultural producers and consumers. Every dollar of FFAR’s funding is matched by non-federal funds. “The FFAR model has realized Congress’ original intent to leverage federal investment in agricultural research through public-private partnerships. FFAR is generating approximately $1.3 dollars for every tax dollar Congress allocates,” noted Rockey. Mississippi State University President and Chair of the FFAR Board of Directors Dr. Mark Keenum also added, “On behalf of the FFAR Board of Directors, we are thankful to have the federal government’s continued support for FFAR in the 2018 Farm Bill. We look forward to building on FFAR’s extraordinary progress to ensure that America remains the global leader in agriculture research.” Since its creation, FFAR has awarded numerous grants to research efforts supporting various agriculture fields, including animal systems, health and nutrition, local food systems, next generation crops, soil health and water scarcity. Including FFAR in the Farm Bill will allow the organization to continue funding research that helps produce nutritious food, grown on thriving, profitable farms in an environmentally sustainable manner. ### About the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 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 and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. Learn more: www.foundationfar.org Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking


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  • Syngenta Joins FFAR’s Crops of the Future Consortium

    BASEL and WASHINGTON (December 19, 2018) – Syngenta has joined the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s (FFAR) Crops of the Future Collaborative as an executive committee participant. The executive committee includes nine Crops of the Future Collaborative participants that work with FFAR to govern the consortium, assist with funding allocations, and determine the direction of consortium research. Syngenta’s involvement furthers the consortium’s ambitious goals, while underscoring the company’s commitment to seed research and development, and sustainable agriculture. The Crops of the Future Collaborative is a consortium for industry partners to jointly contribute to large-scale pre-competitive research projects, fostering a comprehensive approach to address some of agriculture’s most complex challenges. The consortium is pursuing research into how a crop’s genetic information encodes important characteristics such as nutrition, disease resistance, productivity and environmental efficiency. Ultimately, the resulting breakthroughs will create more sustainable food systems benefitting all stakeholders across the value chain, from producers to consumers. The collaboration builds upon Syngenta’s participation in the consortium’s Leafy Greens Program, a joint effort with researchers at the University of California, Davis. Over the past seven years, Syngenta has supported the university’s research into lettuce genome sequencing to improve nutrition, enhance disease resistance, and reduce inputs. This research aims to reduce crop losses and improve farm profitability. In addition to leafy greens, Crops of the Future also will pursue research for corn, cereals and the development of cross crop tools and technologies. “Syngenta is inherently aligned with the mission of Crops of the Future – to accelerate the industry’s ability to develop crops that benefit humanity,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, Ph.D., head of global seeds research, Syngenta. “Global food security is going to require the efforts of more than one company. If we, as an industry, can work together to turn precompetitive research into actionable innovation, we can maximize our impact and develop crop technologies that promote sustainable food production.” Making crops more efficient is one of the essential pillars of The Good Growth Plan, the global Syngenta initiative dedicated to improving the sustainability of agriculture. “Having a global leader like Syngenta as part of this public-private consortium will bolster our efforts to develop more sustainable crops that meet the needs of a growing population,” said Sally Rockey, Ph.D., FFAR executive director. “This investment provides Syngenta with the opportunity to leverage their R&D resources with FFAR and a host of other key seed and technology companies to address critical agriculture challenges.” ### About the Crops of the Future Collaborative The Crops of the Future Collaborative is a public-private, multi-participant consortium convened by Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.  The Collaborative brings together companies and leading research organizations to accelerate the development of new crop varieties that address challenges in food and agriculture.  The Collaborative will leverage the knowledge, capabilities, and financial resources of participants to expand the scientific understanding of characteristics giving rise to complex traits that crops will need to adapt to changing environments. Learn more: www.foundationfar.org/cotf/ CONTACT: Sarah Goldberg, FFAR, 202-624-0704, SGoldberg@foundationFAR.org About Syngenta Syngenta is a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Through world class science and innovative crop solutions, our 28,000 people in over 90 countries are working to transform how crops are grown. We are committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities. To learn more visit www.syngenta.com and www.goodgrowthplan.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Syngenta and www.twitter.com/SyngentaUS. CONTACT: Chris Tutino, Syngenta, 919-226-7238, Chris.Tutino@Syngenta.com


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  • FFAR Announces Recipients of the 2018 New Innovator Award

    This $2.3 Million Award Supports Innovative Food and Agriculture Research ProjectsWASHINGTON, (December 17, 2018) – The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) today announced nine early-career faculty members as recipients of the 2018 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award. The New Innovator Award provides the early investment needed to successfully launch a scientific career in food and agriculture. The award recipients were selected on a number of criteria including scientific merit, innovation and a demonstrated commitment to mentoring other young scientists. The recipients will receive a total of $2,332,051 over three years, with matching funds from each recipients’ respective institutions to double FFAR’s investment for a total of $4,675,795. "These important grants will allow early-career faculty members to spend less time applying for grants and more time on creative research that has an impact on agriculture," said Sally Rockey, FFAR executive director. "FFAR New Innovators also are terrific mentors for the next generation of food and agriculture scientists who will follow them." FFAR’s New Innovator program invests in the next generation of scientists committed to changing the way food is grown, processed and distributed. Investing in new university faculty, their creative and potentially transformative research projects is critical to addressing the current challenges facing agriculture. The following individuals are the 2018 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award recipients: Amanda Ashworth United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service Ashworth’s research will provide information that advances sustainable agriculture production and technology-use on Tribal Lands. Ultimately, this New Innovator Award will integrate functional soil maps for culturally important agro-ecological systems that realize optimum returns and accomplish conservation goals. Arianne Cease, Arizona State University Cease’s project will explore connections between land-use practices and locust outbreaks, and identify and address barriers to sustainable locust management. The project will collaborate with stakeholders to increase capacity to institutionalize knowledge and integrate research and management by working across regions, sectors, and disciplines. Tu-Anh Huynh, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Huynh’s research will examine the interactions of Listeria monocytogenes with cattle gastrointestinal tract microbiota. Although clinical listeriosis is rare, L. monocytogenes is frequently shed by dairy cattle, reflecting a high prevalence of infection and carriage. Lav Khot, Washington State University Khot’s research aims to develop and scientifically evaluate alternative pest management technologies that can aid conventional and organic growers in reducing their reliance on broad spectrum pesticides that result in residues on foods and in environmental contamination. Manuel Kleiner, North Carolina State University Kleiner’s research will link dietary components to the microbes in the intestinal tract of humans and animals that consume and convert them. Knowing which dietary components impact which microbes will help design diets that foster health-promoting microbes and deplete disease-causing microbes of their food source. Amit Morey, Auburn University Morey’s research will reduce food waste in the food supply chain. The project will develop a product termed “Functional Ice” for storage and transportation of raw poultry and seafood. The research team will develop a “First-Expire-First-Out” (FEFO) concept to replace the customary “First-In-First-Out” (FIFO) in food supply chains to help grocery stores reduce food waste. Yiping Qi, the University of Maryland-College Park Qi will develop CRISPR-Cas12a based plant genome editing systems with broadened targeting range and improved editing activity and specificity. If successful, these new gene editing tools will promote accelerated plant breeding for generating crops of high productivity and stress resistance under climate change and global warming. Jason Wallace, the University of Georgia Wallace will study how crops are affected by the microbes that live inside them, and how the environment impacts this relationship. This work will help understand how microbes affect crop production and how to harness them to improve agriculture. Matt Yost, Utah State University Yost’s research will identify the combined effectiveness of several methods of water optimization in agriculture – more efficient water application and management and, advanced crop genetics. Winning combinations that surface will guide the way for stakeholders to invest in water conservation.


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