Founding Partners

About Crops of the Future

The Crops of the Future Collaborative is a public-private, multi-partner consortium convened by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to accelerate global efforts to develop crops needed to meet food system challenges 20-50 years from now. Bringing together leading companies and research organizations, the consortium will leverage the knowledge, capabilities and financial resources of partners to expand the scientific understanding of traits that give rise to complex characteristics crops will need to adapt to changing environments.

The Crops of the Future Collaborative will generate knowledge that will bolster the breeding toolbox for multiple crops, strengthening essential scientific efforts in areas such as:

1) Understanding the biochemical, physiological, and molecular mechanisms and pathways that influence traits for complex characteristics in multiple environments

2) Prediction models for ideotype development and

3) Adapting or generating tools that apply across all crops within the consortium

Partnership and Public benefit

FFAR is committed to providing a forum where the food and agriculture community can work together and pool resources to accelerate outcomes.  Ultimately, the knowledge generated by the collaborative will be publically available through scientific publications and informational platforms, benefiting groups outside the consortium, in addition to private and public breeding efforts.


The Crops of the Future Collaborative is a deliverables-driven consortium aiming to generate knowledge that can accelerate breeding efforts. Each crop will target a specified number of traits per year and focus on identifying the molecular, biochemical, and physiological mechanisms and pathways that give rise to them.

Why Now

With advances in gene editing and phenomics, the consortium is launching at a time when collaboration can accelerate discoveries in ways not possible in the past. While multiple efforts exist to advance breeding, this consortium offers an approach to leverage and enhance other efforts and increase the tools and knowledge available to the public and private sectors. 


This year, Founding Partners Bayer, Biogemma, KWS SAAT SE, FAPESP, FFAR, Precision PlantSciences, and Rijk Zwaan will support initial efforts to launch the consortium, including establishing bylaws and hiring an Executive Director. Each company will have a representative on the Crops of the Future Collaborative executive committee, which will set the direction for the Consortium.


Mark Keenum, Ph.D.

Image of Dr. Mark Keenum

President, Mississippi State University

“I am very proud to have been part of the startup of this organization from day one and I commend the full board for giving their time and energy to something that is bigger than all of us. I look forward to working with my esteemed colleagues to continue building on the extraordinary progress we have made to create the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.”

Fayaz Khazi, Ph.D.

Together, we will solve problems like how to pair new ideas with the most relevant technologies, and this will help us all create products that are not just better, but game changing — even life changing.”

Fayaz Khazi, Ph.D.
president of Precision PlantSciences

Pam Johnson

Portrait of Pam Johnson

This collaborative research with public and private partners will build on the investments already made in agriculture research so farmers like me can see the return on those investments through improvements in plants in our fields.”

Pam Johnson
National Corn Growers Association past president, FFAR Board Member

Kees Reinink, Ph.D.

Rijk Zwaan is keen to actively contribute to the world’s food supply and stimulate vegetable consumption. Joining the Crops of the Future Collaborative, with leafy vegetables as one of the focus crops, can help us achieve this mission.”

Kees Reinink, Ph.D.
Managing Director of Rijk Zwaan

-April Carroll, Ph.D., Purdue University College of Agriculture

Interest in the phenotyping event exceeded our highest expectations, which speaks to the critical importance of connecting plants’ DNA information to meaningful traits.”

April Carroll Director of Phenomics Purdue University College of Agriculture

Sally Rockey, Ph.D.

Executive Director, FFAR

The pace of technology is absolutely breathtaking because we have this combination of understanding how things work coupled with new technologies. For agriculture, we want to take advantage of not only the increases to our knowledge base but also this technological pace.”

Excerpt from Heurmann Lecture by Sally Rockey, Ph.D.
seen at left being recognized for her lecture by Ronnie Green, Ph.D., then Chancellor-elect of University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Grow with Us

 FFAR envisions future expansion of the Crops of the Future Collaborative to include new traits, crops, and partners. Please be in touch to learn more or join us.


Partnership Inquiries

Renee Bullion

Director of Development


 Program Inquiries

John Reich, Ph.D.,

Scientific Program Director