• OFRF and FFAR Award Two Grants that Tackle Soil Health Challenges

    SANTA CRUZ AND WASHINGTON D.C. (August 1, 2019) -- The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) are funding two soil health research projects that examine how on-farm diversification practices control weeds and affect crop yields. OFRF and FFAR funded these two projects as part of a larger initiative to support soil health research and promote environmental sustainability. A grant to Dr. Jed Eberly at Montana State University was announced earlier this year. Implementing diversification practices, such as crop rotations and cover cropping, is one way organic farmers build soil health. Efficient use of organic fertilizers in combination with these practices can enhance soil fertility but determining how much organic fertilizer to apply is a key challenge; too much fertilizer wastes money and pollutes the environment, while too little can impede crop growth. However, there is still much to learn about how diversification practices affect the availability of nutrients in the soil. Addressing this question would help farmers reduce added costs and environmental impacts associated with nutrient losses from organic fertilizers. At UC Berkeley, a team led by Timothy Bowles, Assistant Professor of Agroecology, is working to help solve this problem. This research will allow farmers make more informed decisions about nutrient management, in particular which type of organic fertilizer to use and how to time fertility applications on diversified organic farms. The second project focuses on the southern region of the U.S., an area where challenges in weed, insect, and soil fertility management have made it hard to meet the steady demand for organic sweet potatoes. Currently, many organic sweet potato farmers depend on repeated cultivation to manage weeds, a process that is energy and labor intensive, and damaging to soil health. Their crops are also regularly damaged by invasive pests. For example, the wireworm can damage up to 40 percent of the sweet potato crop in North Carolina, negatively impacting farmers’ profitability. Led by Alex Woodley, an Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University, this project assesses the viability of annual winter cover crop systems as an effective tool for weed and insect control. The project also evaluates the effects of increasing rates of organic nitrogen fertilizer in each cover crop treatment. This systems-level approach has the potential to provide innovative management techniques to organic sweet potato farmers in North Carolina that protect soil health. “We are pleased to partner with FFAR to fund this innovative research,” said Dr. Jed Eberly at Montana State University, OFRF's Executive Director. “The goal is to help organic producers and others interested in building soil health make more informed decisions about managing fertility on their farms and ranches.” “Soil health plays a critical role in supporting productive, sustainable agriculture from the ground-up,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Sally Rockey. “Investing in innovative soil health management techniques benefits the environment, enhances crop productivity and supports farmer profitability.” FFAR funding was matched by Lundberg Family Farms, National Co+op Grocers and Driscolls. ### About the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), 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 and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. About Organic Farming Research Foundation The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is a non-profit foundation that works to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policies that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production.


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  • Global Collaborative Launches OpenTEAM™, the First Open Source Technology Ecosystem In the World To Address Soil Health and Mitigate Climate Change

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9YZ4H10vesWolfe’s Neck Center, Stonyfield Organic and FFAR Convene Cross-Sector Team of Academic Institutions, Farmers, Food Companies, and Innovators OpenTEAM Will Provide Any Farmer, Anywhere with Free Access to Site-Specific Data, Providing Quantitative Feedback on Millions of Acres of Farmland by 2024 Freeport, Maine– July 31, 2019 - Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment, together with founding collaborators Stonyfield Organic, the USDA's LandPKS project and Foundation for Food and Agriculture (FFAR), today announced the launch of OpenTEAM, the first open source technology ecosystem in the world to address soil health and mitigate climate change. OpenTEAM is projected to provide quantitative feedback on millions of acres of farmland by 2024. OpenTEAM, or Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management, is a farmer-driven, interoperable platform to provide farmers around the world with the best possible knowledge to improve soil health. Currently, farmers are faced with an ever-expanding assortment of decision-making software; however, these tools often do not “communicate” with each other, making it difficult to transfer, share or use by farmers and scientists or in supply chains. With OpenTEAM, farmers are not only in control of their own data, but also able to enter data once to access all available tools in the OpenTEAM collaborative. OpenTEAM offers field-level carbon measurement, digital management records, remote sensing, predictive analytics and input and economic management decision support in a connected platform that reduces the need for farmer data entry while improving access to a wide array of tools. The platform will support adaptive soil health management for farms of all scales, geographies and production systems. OpenTEAM will also accelerate scientific understanding of soil health by providing more high-quality data to researchers collaborating on the project. To date, more than one dozen organizations have joined to develop, fund, and implement OpenTEAM. These include The Soil Health Partnership; General Mills; Colorado State University/USDA-NRCS Comet Farm; Applied GeoSolutions, LLC; DNDC Applications, Research and Training; Dagan, Inc.; Michigan State University Global Change Learning Lab; Purdue University Open Technology and Systems Center (OATS); University of British Columbia Center for Sustainable Food Systems; Regen Network; Our.Sci; Quick Carbon at Yale F & ES; U.S. Cover Crop Council decision tools; Sustainability Innovation Lab at Colorado (SILC); The University of Colorado Boulder; and FarmOS. Wolfe’s Neck Center will coordinate OpenTEAM from its headquarters on more than 600 acres of conserved landscape and farmland on the coast of Maine. Implementation and demonstration will begin in fall 2019. Field testing will continue in the 2020 growing season across the U.S. and international hub farm networks. “At Wolfe’s Neck Center, we are collaborating to create solutions that address climate change through regenerative agriculture,” said Dave Herring, executive director, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment. “OpenTEAM pairs agriculture with open source technology to accelerate soil health right here in Maine and around the globe.” The more than $10 million public-private collaboration is made possible by a $5 million grant from FFAR, with more than $5 million matching contributions coming from across the network, including a $200,000 grant from The Stonyfield Foundation and $200,000 in in-kind contributions and a grant from Stonyfield Organic. “Optimizing soil management practices not only improves soil health, but also protects the environment,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Sally Rockey. “At scale, OpenTEAM can improve soil management practices for farmers around the globe and mitigate the effects of climate change.” “Stonyfield is strongly committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Britt Lundgren, director of organic and sustainable agriculture at Stonyfield Organic. “Over half of our emissions come from agriculture, so in order to hit our target we know we need to work with the farms who provide our ingredients and help them reduce their emissions and sequester more carbon. OpenTEAM will enable us to do this, and track farms’ progress so we can be confident we’re hitting our goals.” "We are inspired by the level of collaboration, leadership and vision our OpenTEAM partners have provided,” said Dorn Cox, PhD, research director, Wolfe’s Neck Center. “Through the power of open technology, we aim to make what was invisible visible and in so doing the unvalued valuable.” For more information on OpenTEAM or becoming an OpenTEAM collaborator, please visit: https://www.wolfesneck.org/openteam/ or contact Dr. Dorn Cox at dcox@wolfesneck.org. ### About Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment (WNC) Wolfe’s Neck Center is a pioneer in regenerative agriculture, a nonprofit research and education center, and a working organic farm. Situated on over 600 acres of conserved coastal landscape in Freeport, Maine, WNC’s mission is to transform our relationship with farming and food for a healthier planet. In 2019, WNC dedicated a new $1 million facility to house a first-of-its-kind training program for new and transitioning organic dairy farmers. Follow Wolfe’s Neck Center on Twitter at @wolfesneck and on Facebook and Instagram at @wolfesneckcenter. About Stonyfield Organic As the country’s leading organic yogurt maker, Stonyfield Organic takes care with everything it puts into its products and everything it keeps out. By saying no to toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics and GMOs, Stonyfield has been saying yes to healthy food, healthy people, and a healthy planet for 35 years. Stonyfield, a Certified B-Corp, is also helping to protect and preserve the next generation of farmers and families through programs like its Direct Milk Supply and Wolfe’s Neck Organic Training Program as well as StonyFIELDS, a nationwide, multi-year initiative to help keep families free from toxic persistent pesticides in parks and playing fields across the country. Follow Stonyfield on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @Stonyfield. About LandPKS The Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) is a mobile app and platform that supports nearly all approaches to land management by facilitating access to soil information and knowledge, and helping farmers and ranchers to track progress towards management objectives. As a fully functional system for which data privacy functions will become available in late 2019, LandPKS will serve as one of a growing number of gateways to the expanding network or “ecosystem” of OpenTEAM tools and technologies. LandPKS development is led by the USDA-ARS in cooperation with the University of Colorado Boulder, New Mexico State University, and collaborators throughout the world. Follow LandPKS on Facebook and Twitter at @LandPKS. About Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, FFAR 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. Follow FFAR at Facebook and Twitter at @FoundationFAR and @RockTalking.


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  • FFAR Partners with FoodShot Global to Award 3 GroundBreaker Prizes

     NEW YORK and WASHINGTON (June 6, 2019) – Soil health research is critical to preserving the environment and increasing farmer yields and profitability. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and FoodShot Global awarded GroundBreaker Prizes to three individuals conducting trailblazing research that improves soil health and enhances soil management practices. FFAR contributed $110,000, which was matched by partner organizations for a total prize award of $535,000. This year’s inaugural Foodshot Global Challenge, Innovating Soil 3.0, recognizes rising scientific stars whose research supports a soil system capable of supporting ten billion people. Foodshot Global winners have identified technological and ecological tools that enable farmers to optimize yields and the long-term health of the land. Through this prize, all three recipients receive guidance, mentorship and resources to maximize the impact and scale of their research. “Soil health is at the root of an agricultural system capable of supporting a growing global population,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR’s executive director. “This type of innovative research is needed to revolutionize global soil health. FFAR is proud to be part of this competition and to support this year’s winners.” The GroundBreaker Prize was awarded to Dr. Keith Paustian, Dr. Gerlinde de Deyn and Dr. Dorn Cox: Dr. Paustian received a $250,000 GroundBreaker Prize to accelerate the global adaptation of his COMET-Farm tool systems. This specialized technology provides sustainability metrics that inform land management decisions and promote regenerative and conservation-based agricultural practices. These tools are increasingly used in the United States at the federal level to support conservation programs, at the state level to support soil health and carbon management policies, and by industry partners. Dr. Paustian aims to adapt the COMET systems to agricultural regions around the globe. Dr. Gerlinde de Deyn received a $250,000 GroundBreaker Prize to determine soil components that enhance plant productivity, and allow for better absorption of nutrients, suppress disease and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Dr. de Deyn research develops models that predict how plants engage with their environments, allowing researchers to efficiently produce nutritious food without stressing the environment. Dr. Dorn Cox was also awarded a $35,000 GroundBreaker “Seed” Prize to support his ambitious vision of using Open TEAM to collect environmental data,  providing access to comprehensive global agricultural knowledge to help growers make sustainable and profitable farm management decisions. Open TEAM, a technology ecosystem that leverages existing global open-source hardware and software, is in the development phase and aims to advance soil health through global community learning and aggregating best agricultural practices. The GroundBreaker Prize will increase the capacity of Open TEAM by incorporating on-the-ground technology support and extending outreach to other open source communities around the world. “I founded FoodShot Global envisioning a new way to harness the power of innovation, capital, and the collaborative spirit of the world’s leading stakeholders to effect change,” said Chairman and Founder of FoodShot Global Victor Friedberg. “We chose to start with soil because any future that imagines 10 billion people eating healthy and sustainably with equal access will require healthy soil. The three people we announced today are all groundbreakers whose inspired work lays the foundation for the next generation of solutions to the urgency we now face as a civilization. I couldn’t be more impressed and inspired by these inaugural FoodShot Global award winners and look forward to sharing what they’re doing with a larger audience.” FoodShot Global received 176 GroundBreaker Prize nominations from six continents and over 40 countries. These winners were judged by investors based on core criteria including their alignment with FoodShot Global’s mission of creating a healthier, more sustainable, more equitable food system; their connection to the Innovating Soil 3.0 challenge, the global relevance of their work, their ability to realize growth and scale, and their likelihood of facilitating future innovation and systemic change. ### About FoodShot Global Headquartered in New York, FoodShot Global is a non-profit investment platform founded by venture capitalist and co-founder of S2G Ventures, Victor Firedberg. FSG brings together a worldwide consortium of mission-aligned venture funds, banks, corporations, universities, and foundations to catalyze the success of global, transformative solutions to critical food and agriculture problems. FoodShot's annual Challenge identifies the most pressing obstacles to creating a healthy, sustainable, and equitable global food system. FoodShot Global Founding Partners include Rabobank, Generation Investment Management, Mars Edge, UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Builders Initiative, Armonia, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture as well as resource partners The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Sall Family Foundation, Path Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the Soil Health Institute, and venture partners S2G, ACRE, Activant Capital, ASW Ventures, Grantham Foundation and The Yield Lab. 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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  • 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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  • FFAR Grant Improves Soil Health and Increases Farm Sustainability

    AMES and WASHINGTON (April 1, 2019) – Midwestern farms produce a quarter of the world’s corn and soybeans, yet this bounty drains nutrients from the soil, reducing future yields. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $746,204 Seeding Solutions Grant to Iowa State University to improve soil health through prairie strips. The FFAR grant has been matched with funding from Iowa State University, Roeslein Alternative Energy, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and the Walton Family Foundation for a total $1.49 million investment. Corn and soybean crops are crucial to supplying affordable and nutritious food. However, the nutrient depletion caused by corn and soybean production reduce future yields, which undermines long-term farm sustainability and profitability. In fact, soil erosion costs the agriculture industry about $44 billion annually and increases production costs by about 25 percent each year. Dr. Cruse’s research aims to restore soil health by identifying how to integrate practices that provide continuous living cover on corn and soybean fields, including prairie strips and cover crops. Such practices ensure the presence of live roots in the ground throughout the entire year, which can stabilize soils, enhance soil health and improve farm-level economics. “Prairie strips have been discussed in research circles for a decade,” said Dr. Richard Cruse, a professor in the Agronomy Department at Iowa State University and Director of the Iowa Water Center. “We’re looking at the environmental and economic impact of prairie strips over time.” Farmers have expressed interest in prairie strips and cover crops; however, knowledge gaps and perceived obstacles stymie the widespread adoption of these practices. Not only will this grant identify the most effective practices, but the grant also aims to tackle barriers that prevent farmers from adopting these practices. “Prairie strips haven’t been adopted as quickly as some other management practices,” said Cruse. “We want to look at possible obstacles to implementation, like the flexibility of converting strips back into farm ground and changes that impact soil health as well as economic factors. For a farmer to make a change it has to either be net positive or neutral at the very least.” Farmers need more information about impacts on soil erosion, changes in soil properties, and the yield and financial benefits of improving soil health. Cruse’s team will develop a model to inform the integration of soil management practices, while simultaneously maintaining current cropping systems; their goal is to help farmers limit soil loss and improve soil health. “This research project has the potential to advance soil management practices that protect farm lands for generations to come, and help ensure that these farms remain profitable,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Sally Rockey. “The added benefit of this Seeding Solutions Grant is that it determines the best solution for our Midwestern corn and soybean farmers and helps them easily adopt these practices, so their farms can continue to thrive.” 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. Iowa State’s research furthers FFAR’s 2018 Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area, now the Soil Health Challenge Area, which enriches soil by building knowledge, fueling innovation and enabling the adoption of soil management practices. ### 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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  • FFAR Awards Grant to Enhance Soil Practices in Almond Orchards

     Patrick Brown, UC Davis, examining almond trees as part of a new research project to increase field recycling of nutrients and improve soil health. (photo Pedro Lima/UC Davis)DAVIS and WASHINGTON (March 28, 2019) – More than 80 percent of the world’s almonds are produced in California, and this industry contributes $21 billion to the state’s economy. In recognition of the need to develop more resilient almond orchards, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $225,000 Seeding Solutions Grant to the University of California, Davis, to improve soil health in almond orchards. The FFAR grant has been matched with funding from the Almond Board of California and almond growers for a total $450,000 investment. Currently, almond growers clean the orchard floor so that no weeds, manures or organic matter are left before harvest begins. Almond harvesters then shake the trees to encourage the almond fruit to fall to the ground, where it dries out before growers transfer the fruit in its hull and shell to processing facilities. Since the almonds touch the ground during harvest, growers are not able to use manures, composts or other materials added to the soil that would contaminate the nuts. The current practice deprives the soil of vital nutrients and creates additional costs for growers. Hulls and shells contain nitrogen and potassium, which the trees need to thrive. Clearing away the hulls and shells means growers must fertilize more. The hulls and shells are also 70 percent of the total almond weight, adding to transportation costs. However, if the almond hulls and shells are left on the ground, they would improve the soil and save money. “Healthy soils hold nutrients better, hold water better, improve crop disease resilience, capture carbon and reduce nitrogen leaching,” said Patrick H. Brown, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. “This whole system change that eliminates almond contact with the orchard floor has the potential to reduce herbicide, fertilizer and pesticide use.” UC Davis’s research will test advanced almond harvesting practices that increase soil fertility while ensuring food safety. The research team will catch almond fruits with machinery before they fall to the ground, removing their hulls in the field and recycling them on the orchard floor instead of discarding them in processing facilities. Eliminating the on-the-ground portion of the harvest will improve the ability of growers to use compost, manure and other materials designed to improve soil health. “The importance of protecting soil health and fertility cannot be overstated. If almond growers want to preserve their farms for future generations, we must identify harvesting methods that bolster soil quality,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR’s executive director. “This research both ensures the continued success of today’s almond growers and invests in soil health improvement practices that will benefit the next generations of growers.” Brown’s team will provide the results of this research to commercial growers, industry stakeholders and other researchers to ultimately ensure the continued success of almond growers in the future. FFAR’s Seeding Solutions Grant program is an open call for bold ideas that address pressing food and agriculture issues in one of the Foundation’s Challenge Areas. UC Davis’s research furthers FFAR’s 2018 Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area, now the Soil Health Challenge Area, which enriches soil by building knowledge, fueling innovation and enabling the adoption of soil management practices. ### 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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  • FoodShot Global Launches New Investment Platform to Fund Innovators Taking Bold “Moonshots for Better Food”

    Non-profit consortium of food and agriculture leaders will accelerate food system transformationFoodShot Global today announced the launch of…


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  • FFAR Grant Spurs Milestone for Farm Productivity

    Soil Health Institute Announces Methods for Evaluating Soil Health at a Continental Scale, Anticipates Actionable Data for Farmers, Ranchers and Policymakers by 2020 WASHINGTON, May 18, 2018 – Soil…


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  • FFAR Awards $1.25 Million Grant to Study Adaptive Multi-Paddock Grazing for Cattle

    With additional support from McDonald’s USA, Arizona State University researchers seek to improve farm resilience and reduce environmental impacts


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  • FFAR Awards $1 Million Seeding Solutions Grant to Foundation for Agronomic Research to Measure Impact of On-Farm Nutrient Management Practices on Corn Yields, Soil Health, and Water Quality

    The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit established in the 2014 Farm Bill with bipartisan congressional support, today awarded a $1 million dollar Seeding Solutions grant to…


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