Experts named to six FFAR advisory councils

By Daniel Enoch

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2016 -- The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) has taken another big step toward its goal of supporting innovative science addressing today's food and agricultural challenges by naming experts to six advisory councils.

The councils will advise FFAR staff and board members on program development and implementation, potential partners and other avenues for advancing the organization's mission. Council members - representing diverse industries, geographic areas, and professional backgrounds - were selected from a competitive pool of applicants nominated through an open solicitation. They will serve two or three-year terms, and meet virtually three times a year.

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FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey said the new councils will strengthen FFAR's expertise in six critical areas. “I am confident that our new council members, in close collaboration with the staff and board, will add tremendous value to the Foundation's programmatic development and continued growth,” Rockey said in a release.

Each Advisory Council is led by a chairperson, appointed to facilitate discussion and build consensus. Doug Karlen, with USDA's Agricultural Research Service, will lead the council on Soil Health. The other council subjects and their chairs are: Food System Innovation - Josette Lewis, University of California, Davis; Nutrition and Healthy Food Choices - Laurian Unnevehr, University of Illinois; Plant Efficiency -Jonathan Lynch, Pennsylvania State University; Sustainable Farm Animal Productivity, Resilience, and Health - Harvey Morgan Scott, Texas A&M University; and Water Use - Daniel Sonke, Campbell Soup Company.

The councils will assume a number of roles including participating in the peer review process and making recommendations on application and proposal alignment with strategic and scientific goals of the Foundation, FFAR said. Advisory Council members were selected based on scientific, industry or other practical experience and knowledge. Click here for a full list of Advisory Council members.

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Established by the 2014 farm bill, FFAR is governed by a board of directors chaired by former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and with ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation.

FFAR made news last month by establishing the first-ever National Academy of Sciences prize dedicated to food and agricultural research. The $100,000 prize for a mid-career scientist is endowed by FFAR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Nominations are being accepted through Oct. 3 for the inaugural prize, which will be awarded in 2017.

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