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
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