FFAR accelerates development of new crop varieties for growers

Farmers regularly face challenges from insects, disease and climate change–which can threaten U.S. food security. To help farmers overcome these obstacles, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is providing research funding to develop transformative tools and technologies that allow scientists to rapidly introduce new traits into multiple crop species. Such tools and technologies would ultimately increase food security by providing more resilient, diverse and profitable crops for growers. This request for proposals is funded through FFAR’s Crops of the Future Collaborative and is accepting applications.

Introducing a new trait into a crop using traditional breeding methods requires 8 to 10 years before the enhanced crop reaches farmers. This program is developing methodologies to reduce this timeline by several years, getting improved crops into the hands of farmers sooner.

“These tools and technologies could introduce any crop trait into any crop variety, resulting in more diverse, sustainable and nutritious crops,” said FFAR Executive Director Sally Rockey. “The lack of rapid crop breeding tools is one of the biggest bottlenecks preventing the commercialization of underutilized crops. FFAR’s Crops of the Future Collaborative aims to address this.”

The Crops of the Future Collaborative seeks applications for crops species that are well suited for sustainable agriculture, valuable for human nutrition and considered an under-appreciated crop that has not benefited from rapid breeding methods. Full application criteria, deadlines and eligibility requirements are available on the Crops of the Future Collaborative website.

The Crops of the Future Collaborative is a consortium of industry partners that jointly contribute to pre-competitive research projects, fostering a comprehensive approach to address some of agriculture’s most complex challenges. The consortium is pursuing research into how a crop’s genetic information encodes important characteristics such as nutrition, disease resistance, productivity and environmental efficiency. The resulting breakthroughs create more sustainable food systems and benefit stakeholders across the value chain, from producers to con