FFAR Aims to Mitigate Potential Threats to Food Safety and Supply by Funding First Responders

Rapid Response Initiative Will Deploy Emergency Research, Education and Extension Dollars

October 29, 2015

Clarksville Research Center cherries

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2015– The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) today announced that it will launch an initiative to protect growers and consumers from threats to the nation’s food supply or safety.  The funds deployed by the Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that supports actionable research addressing today’s challenges in food and agriculture, will allow researchers and outreach professionals to execute a targeted and swift response to a crisis.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research will work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to identify imminent threats as well as the unique ways in which FFAR can complement the work being done by the Department. Catalyze crisis response through targeted research and implementation that would not occur otherwise.

“The Rapid Response Fund is a prime example of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research board and staff’s commitment to laser-focused initiatives with the potential to make an immediate and positive impact,” said Dr. Sally Rockey, executive director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. “The Foundation’s ability to be nimble in its funding mechanisms and our close collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be tremendous assets in this endeavor.”

The Rapid Response program is one of the inaugural initiatives announced today by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill to increase innovative research in food and agriculture and work toward feeding the 9.7 billion people predicted to populate the planet by 2050.

FFAR intends to issue grants within weeks of crisis identification and will require that the proposed research be executed over 12 months. This rapid funding will bridge to traditional funding sources that require more time and capacity to obtain. 

To ensure rapid deployment of funds in the face of a potential emergency, a small team of experts will be given the authority to nimbly award funds to first responders.

After the passage of the initial project proposal at this week’s board meeting, the Foundation will move to develop the grant solicitation process and governance structure.

The Rapid Response Fund is modelled after a statewide program, Michigan State University’s Project Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs (GREEEN), which has provided funding to address issues including soybean rust and colony collapse disorder. FFAR Board member Doug Buhler, who is on the Project GREEEN decision-making team, played a lead role in designing the Rapid Response Fund.

“The Michigan model of rapid response funding has been successful time and time again. Project GREEEN has to respond quickly to threats to Michigan agriculture, and I am confident that the benefits will be multiplied with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s national scope,” said Buhler, Director of AgBioResearch and Assistant Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University.  

About the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, builds unique partnerships to support innovative research addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges.  Leveraging public and private resources, FFAR will increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. FFAR is governed by a Board of Directors, chaired by former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman.

Learn more at www.far.foundation and connect with FFAR on Twitter at @FoundationFAR and @RockTalking.

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