About Seeding Solutions

FFAR’s Seeding Solutions Grants are an open call for applicants to submit innovative and transformative research proposals that furthers any of our Challenge Areas, and foster unique partnerships. Every year, FFAR funds at least one proposal in each of our Challenge Areas, typically awarding each applicant between $300,000 and $1 million.

Seeding Solutions applicants are required to complete a pre-proposal. As our Seeding Solutions program supports innovation and partnership, grantees are required to provide matching funds from non-federal sources and identify an innovation that addresses an intractable problem in food and agriculture within one of FFAR’s Challenge areas.

We encourage potential applicants to contact the managing Scientific Program Director for their Challenge Area of interest to hone their ideas prior to submitting a pre-proposal. FFAR will then review the pre-proposals, and invite selected proposals to submit a full application.

Key Dates

Pre-Proposal Applications Open
January 22, 2020

Pre-Proposal Submission Deadline
February 26, 2020
Submitting a pre-application is required to submit a full application.

Full Application Invitation
April 22, 2020

Full Applications Due
June 24, 2020

Award Notification
Fall 2020

Application Guidelines

Seeding Solutions proposals should:

  1. Demonstrate the potential for transformative impact within the selected Challenge Areas:
    For scientific or programmatic questions, please contact:


    1. Leverage partnerships with multiple sectors (private, NGOs, governments, academia, end users, etc.), such that research outcomes may be scalable and applicable to existing food and agriculture systems. Strong partnerships with multiple stakeholders are highly encouraged.


    1. Contribute to the goal of sustainable food and agriculture, defined as practices that:
      “satisfy human food and fiber needs; enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends; make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operation; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.” (Food and Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of1990, Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, Subtitle A, Section 1603).


  1. Serve the public by making data open and accessible, creating unique economic development opportunities, and/or contributing to food and agriculture workforce.


FFAR welcomes applications from all U.S. institutions of Higher Education, non-profit and for-profit organizations, government-affiliated researchers, and domestic and international organizations.

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support.

2018 Seeding Solutions Recipients

Cornell University: Improving Dairy Cow’s Ability to Withstand Extreme Heat

Dairy cows are unable to efficiently produce milk when their body temperatures rise above normal and are heat stressed. This condition, known as hyperthermia-induced heat stress, cost the American dairy farmers an alarming $1.5 billion annually. Cornell University’s research will determine whether heat-stressed dairy cows can recover if fed specific remedies. Ultimately, this project aims to identify nutrition-based solutions that improves dairy cows’ ability to adapt to extreme heat.

Feeding America: Evaluating the Ability of Innovative Distribution Models to Reduce Food Insecurity

In 2017, Feeding America instituted Regional Produce Cooperatives designed to potentially improve the quantity, variety and quality of food at food banks; however, rigorous evaluations have not yet been conducted to determine the program’s overall effectiveness. Feeding America will evaluate the effectiveness of Regional Produce Cooperative to increase consumption of nutritious produce and decrease food insecurity.

Iowa State University: Improving Soil Health through Prairie Strips

Midwestern farms produce a quarter of the world’s corn and soybeans, yet this bounty drains nutrients from the soil, reducing future yields and undermining long-term farm sustainability and profitability. Iowa State University’s research will restore soil health by identifying how to integrate practices that provide continuous living cover on corn and soybean crops, including prairie and cover crops.

UC Davis: Improving Soil Health in Almond Orchards

Current almond harvesting practices requires that the almond dry out on the orchard floor, which means growers cannot use manures, composts or other materials that could contaminate the nuts. This practice deprives the soil of vital nutrients and creates additional costs for growers. UC Davis is researching more resilient almond harvesting practices that will improve soil health in almond orchards.

University of Cornell: Converting Nutritious Agricultural Waste into Snack Foods

Much of the fruit and vegetable bits left behind after food processing becomes a form of agricultural waste known as pomace, which has little economic value, limited utility and is harmful to the environment. Cornell University’s research seeks to preserve the nutritional qualities of pomace by developing a technology that can convert it into value-added snack foods.


For questions about the grant process, please contact grants@foundationfar.org.