Crops of the Future is a public-private collaborative established by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to enhance US and global agriculture by developing the crops needed to feed a growing population. The collaborative aims to expand our knowledge of the genes and traits that give rise to the characteristics crops need to adapt to a changing future.

Funding Opportunities
Accelerated Crop Breeding Tools
COTF is issuing a call for research concepts to develop tools and technologies that allow scientists to rapidly introduce new traits into multiple crop species. The application deadline for the Accelerated Crop Breeding Tools Request for Applications is July 8, 2020. To apply, please see the Accelerated Crop Breeding Tools RFA.

Plant Protein Enhancement Project
COTF launched the Plant Protein Enhancement Project to enhance plant-protein crops profitably and sustainably. To apply, please see the Plant Protein Enhancement Project RFA.


Keeping farmers competitive and profitable requires developing products at an unprecedented pace. Yet, research and development can be financially risky. With industry consolidation, companies are facing greater investment in commercialization over research. This trend makes it challenging and expensive for companies to independently maintain cost-competitive research programs.

However, participation in research consortia allows companies to effectively address these issues.

The Crops of the Future Collaborative allows participants to collectively explore multiple areas of research based on a common need while minimizing risk prior to pursuing the research internally. FFAR established this Collaborative to address significant research gaps common across the industry.


Accelerate our ability to develop the crops that benefit humanity now and in the future by increasing our understanding of the relationship between traits, genes and the environment.


Crops of the Future will accelerate discoveries in ways not possible in the past. Scientific breakthroughs have allowed scientists to sequence crop genomes and use these sequences to understand how specific genes translate into traits that help plants thrive in the field. The Crops of the Future Collaborative will build on these advancements, and others in crop breeding and modeling, to accelerate our ability to meet future demands on the food system.
Established with an initial $10 million commitment from FFAR, and matched by contributions from participants, Crops of the Future is investing $20 million to further crop science. Collaborative participants jointly define the research issues, pool resources and knowledge and use the research outcomes to compete in the marketplace.
The Crops of the Future Collaborative will develop resilient crops with genes and traits that allow them to thrive despite pests, pathogens and extreme weather. Additionally, the research will focus on increasing crop diversity and crops with higher nutritional content.

The Crops of the Future Collaborative research can yield traits needed to meet global nutritional demands in a changing environment by focusing in three key areas:

1) Crop resilience
2) Crop diversity
3) Market development for new crops

Initial research projects focus on maize, leafy greens, wheat and small grains.

Gene Sequencing

Crop Breeding




Crops of the Future convenes companies and global research organizations working to develop new crop varieties that address challenges in food and agriculture. The diverse array of participants represents many aspects of the agriculture industry, including seed companies, technology companies and other stakeholders from the value chain. FFAR welcomes new participants interested in pooling resources to develop a common vision to address big challenges facing agriculture. The participants include:


Grow with Us

Contact us to learn more about Crops of the Future or to request more information on becoming a potential participant.

Join the FFAR mailing list to stay informed of future opportunities and research developments.
Contact Us


Jeff Rosichan

Crops of the Future Collaborative Director


Kashyap Choksi, Ph.D.

Director of Scientific Partnerships

Contact Us

Overcoming Water Scarcity

Overcoming Water Scarcity


Agriculture uses 70 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Overcoming Water Scarcity Challenge Area addressed water use efficiency in agriculture by developing water conservation and reuse technologies, improving crop and livestock breeds, creating improved agronomic practices, increasing the social and economic tractability of conservation practices and enhancing the efficacy of Extension services.

FFAR’s Sustainable Water Management Challenge Area builds on earlier work to increase water availability and water efficiency for agricultural use, reduces agricultural water pollution and develops water reuse technologies.

Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms

Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms


FFAR’s 2016-2018 Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area increased soil health by building knowledge, fueling innovation, and enabling adoption of existing or new innovative practices that improve soil health.

The Soil Health Challenge Area advances existing research and identifies linkages between farm productivity and soil health, while also addressing barriers to the adoption of soil health practices.

Protein Challenge

Protein Challenge


FFAR’s 2016-2018 Protein Challenge Area sought to improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability of diverse proteins.

The Advance Animal Systems challenge area supports sustainable animal production through environmentally sound productions practices and advancement in animal health and welfare. Additionally, the Next Generation Crops Challenge Area develops non-traditional crops, including plant-based proteins, and creates new economic opportunities for conventional crops to increase future crop diversity and farm profitability.

Food Waste and Loss

Food Waste and Loss


About 40 percent of food in the US, or $161 billion each year, is lost or wasted. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Food and Waste Loss Challenge Area addressed the social, economic and environmental impacts from food waste and loss through research that developed of novel uses for agricultural waste, improved storage and distribution, supported tracking and monitoring, minimized spoilage through pre- and post-harvest innovations and changed behaviors to reduce food waste

FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area addresses food waste and loss and supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.

Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability


Supporting innovation is necessary for sustainable results. Over the last 50 years, farmers have tripled global food production thanks to agricultural innovations. Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability was a 2016-2018 Challenge Area that focused on understanding the barriers and processes that prevented the adoption of technology and research results into sustainable practices.

Urban Food Systems

Urban Food Systems


The 2016-2018 Urban Food Systems Challenge Area addressed feeding urban populations through urban and peri-urban agriculture and augmenting the capabilities of our current food system.

The Urban Food Systems Challenge Area continues this work and enhances our ability to feed urban populations.

Making My Plate Your Plate


FFAR’s 2016-2018 Making My Plate Your Plate Challenge Area focused on helping Americans meet the USDA 2015 Dietary Guideline recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, including research to both produce and provide access to nutritious fruits and vegetables.

FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.