A Message from the Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture

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Dear Stakeholders:


The Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79) authorizes the establishment of a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. I will convene a meeting of all ex officio members of the former board of directors who will incorporate the Foundation. I will also appoint 15 members to the new Foundation’s Board of Directors. In my capacity as an ex-officio Director, I am soliciting nominations for members of that Board. A notice will also be published in the Federal Register.


The Foundation will foster research, innovation, and partnerships important to America's agricultural economy. It will receive $200 million from the Commodity Credit Corporation to carry out its mission. The Foundation will use this funding to support agricultural research activities when matched with an equal amount of non-federal funds. The Foundation will address problems of national and international significance in plant and animal health, production, and products; food safety, nutrition, and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and the environment; agricultural and food security; agriculture systems and technology; and, agricultural economics and rural communities. For more information on the Agricultural Act of 2014, visit http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr2642enr/pdf/BILLS-113hr2642enr.pdf.


The Foundation will be independent of the United States Government. The Board of Directors will establish policies and governance structures for the new Foundation. This will include hiring an Executive Director and evaluating the Director's performance. Board members will be appointed for 5 years; however, initial members will be appointed to shorter terms to provide a staggered rotation. Eight of the initial Board members will be appointed for 3-year terms and seven will be appointed for 2-year terms. Eight are to be nominated from a list provided by the National Academy of Sciences and seven will come from candidates nominated by industry. Board members will not be compensated for their service, but they may be reimbursed for travel and subsistence. Board members should have "actual experience in agricultural research and, to the extent practicable, represent diverse sectors of agriculture."


Please send names with addresses and reach numbers for individuals you wish to nominate to: FFAR@usda.gov by April 28, 2014. All questions may be directed to Dr. Catherine E. Woteki, Chief Scientist, Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics at 202-260-8208.


Sincerely yours,


Thomas J. Vilsack