WASHINGTON — The creation of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research and the appointment of a 15-member board of directors were announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The new foundation will leverage public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to boosting America’s agricultural economy.

Authorized by Congress as part of the 2014 farm bill, the foundation will operate as a non-profit corporation seeking and accepting private donations in order to fund research activities that focus on problems of national and international significance. Congress also provided $200 million for the foundation which must be matched by non-federal funds as the foundation identifies and approves projects.

“Studies have shown that every dollar invested in agricultural research creates $20 in economic activity,” Vilsack said.

Research funded by the foundation will address issues including plant and animal health; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; agricultural and food security; and agriculture systems and technology.

Directors are: Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University; Douglas Buhler, director of AgBioResearch and senior associate dean for research for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University; Nancy Creamer, distinguished professor of sustainable agriculture and community-based food systems, North Carolina State University; Deborah Delmer, professor emeritus of biology, University of California-Davis; Dan Glickman, former U.S. secretary of agriculture, current executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Congressional Program;

Robert Horsch, deputy director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; pamela Johnson, chairwoman, National Corn Growers Association; Mark Keenum, president, Mississippi State University; Michael Ladisch, director of the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering and distinguished professor of agricultural and biological engineering, Purdue University; Christopher Mallett, vice president of research and development, Cargill Inc.;

Pamela Matson, Chester Naramore Dean of the School of Earth Sciences, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor of Environmental Studies and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University; Terry McElwain, associate director and professor, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, and executive director, Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Washington State University; Stanley Prusiner, director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Professor of Neurology, University of California-San Francisco and 1997 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine; Yehia “Mo” Saif, professor emeritus, Ohio State University; and Barbara Schaal, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

The five ex-officio board members, all of whom were designated by Congress, are Vilsack; Catherine Woteki, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for research, education, and eEconomics and chief scientist; Chavonda Jacobs-Young, administrator of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service; Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture; and France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation.