Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the creation of a nonprofit corporation that will fund agricultural research. Congress authorized the formation of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) in the 2014 Farm Bill. The federal government provided $200 million for FFAR, which must be matched by non-federal funds.
In his announcement, Secretary Vilsack stated, “every dollar invested in agricultural research creates $20 in economic activity.” In a press release, the Department of Agriculture said, “in a time of federal budgetary restraints, the new foundation is another innovative way to continue and expand investment in agricultural research.”
The foundation’s research will focus on “plant and animal health; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and the environment; agricultural and food security; and agriculture systems and technology.” The organization’s 15 voting board members were selected to represent a diverse range of agricultural interests. The board is mostly comprised of university administrators and professors, along with a few nonprofit and industry representatives.
FFAR is modeled on similar organizations that benefit the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Karl Anderson, the Director of Government Relations for the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, called FFAR “the biggest win for us in the farm bill.”
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