FFAR Board of Directors Public Conversation 2022

10:00 am - 11:30 am EDT
Also Virtual
Washington, DC

  • Public Conversation

The FFAR Board of Directors held the Foundation’s annual Public Conversation on September 8, 2022. This year’s event was held in-person and virtually with more than 100 attendees. The Public Conversation is an opportunity for the public and members of the food and agriculture community to hear from FFAR’s leadership and interact with them during the public comments and Q&A session.

This year’s event focused on welcoming our new executive director, Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin, an overview of FFAR’s impact and great remarks from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. It was a dynamic event with engaging comments and questions from the public.

Dr. Mark Keenum and Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin and Julie Reynes at 2022 Public Conversation

Dr. Mark Keenum and Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin and Julie Reynes at 2022 Public Conversation

During this year’s Conversation, FFAR’s Board Chair and Mississippi State University President, Dr. Mark Keenum welcomed Executive Director, Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin. Dr. Chapotin gave remarks on her vision for moving the foundation into the next frontier or research and positioning FFAR to be a leader in climate-smart initiative. Julie Reynes, FFAR’ chief operating officer provided an overview of the foundation’s impact and exciting research, and United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack provided remarks.

At the time of the event, FFAR had awarded 293 grants, increased our matching ratio to 1:1.4 and provided $368 million in funding. FFAR’s 2021 Impact Report highlighted that of the 53 fellowships awarded, 39 percent were awarded to female grantees and 39 percent of grantees were people of color. Recent breakthroughs were also highlighted, including the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency, or RIPE, project successfully bioengineered soybean plants to improve regulation of photoprotection—a natural process that enables plants to cope with excess absorbed light energy. Helping plants manage excess absorbed light increased soybean seed yield by up to 33 percent in field trials.

FFAR received numerous thoughtful public comments from members of the food and agriculture community. All comments were forwarded to the FFAR Board.

United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack

United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack

COVID Guidance for FFAR’s In-Person Meetings

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is committed to promoting the health and safety of our employees, board members, grantees, partners and other stakeholders who participate in any FFAR in-person meeting. FFAR requires that employees be fully vaccinated. When possible, FFAR aims to provide opportunities for participants to attend events virtually.

FFAR complies with local and state regulations concerning mask mandates in place for the event location. The Foundation strongly suggests wearing masks during events but does not require or perform on-site COVID testing.

Despite all precautions, any in-person gathering presents some risk. FFAR does not screen attendees and cannot guarantee the health of all attendees, nor does FFAR undertake any responsibility for notifying attendees if another attendee subsequently tests positive for COVID. By attending, you agree that you understand and assume all COVID-related risks associated with an in-person meeting.