- Tribute - Dr. William Danforth, SoAR Founder (1926-2020) - Each day at the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation, we are grateful to and inspired by our founder, Dr. William Danforth. Dr. Danforth passed away on September 16, 2020 at his home in St. Louis at the age of 94. Bill’s life was full of service and generosity. We remember him with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile that lit up the room. Bill was a kind, warm, wise, generous, and caring person. He believed that our common purpose in life is to help others and make the world a better place. He encouraged everyone he met to address the world’s great challenges with vision and courage. He is greatly admired for his professional achievements as Chancellor of Washington University (WashU) in St. Louis, Founding Chairman of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and Founder of SoAR.
- Press Release/Report - New Report Details Economic Boost From Federally Funded Agricultural Research as Congress Wrestles With Federal Government Support - “Retaking the Field Volume 5: Innovation to Profit” explores how federally funded agricultural research strengthens farmers and ranchers’ bottom-line by reducing costs and risks, increasing profits, and laying the groundwork for new products and industries. With powerful examples from universities across the country, it describes how research can generate outsized economic benefits that extends for decades. The report is in partnership FedByScience universities and the SoAR Foundation. Sponsors include the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.
- Press Release/Comments - SoAR Calls for New Emphasis on Transdisciplinary Research and Systems Approach in Agricultural Science to Drive Long-Term Sustainability - The Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation beckons for a renewed effort to achieve the long-term goals and strategy of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report Science Breakthroughs to Advance Food and Agricultural Research by 2030. Through a strong emphasis on transdisciplinary research and systems approach in agricultural science, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can ensure the long-term productivity of America’s farmers and ranchers while feeding the growing world population. See SoAR’s submission of comments for USDA’s consideration, in response to USDA’s broad request for stakeholders’ input on agriculture innovations.
- Blog - Rapid Response To COVID-19 - Penn State, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, University of Illinois, and USDA NIFA highlighted - In both good and bad times, agricultural researchers, educators, and extension professionals diligently toil to provide us with nutritious, abundant, and affordable food. The SoAR Foundation highlights their stories of discovery – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner – in the FedByScience story bank. Today, as our nation and the world struggle to fight COVID-19, medical professionals are working tirelessly to understand the virus, heal stricken people, and develop an effective vaccine. At the same time, agricultural professionals are rapidly responding to protect our farmworkers and the food system. Here are a few examples that describe how they are helping in various ways. These research, education, and extension efforts require sufficient USDA funding during this pandemic and into the future.
- Blog - FedByScience Partners Are Increasing States’ Capacity To Battle COVID-19 - Colorado State University, Purdue University, and Iowa State University highlighted - Veterinary labs at Colorado State University, Purdue University, Iowa State University, and other universities across the U.S. are ramping up in powerful, creative, and impactful ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the nation, many public health labs (for people) are severely overloaded because of the huge demand for COVID-19 testing. Veterinary labs and medical labs use the same equipment and require similar expertise. Although the vet labs usually test for infectious diseases in animals, they are adapting in order use their existing equipment to screen people for COVID. This has increased testing capacity in several states and is helping more people to receive their results more quickly.
- The research university community led by the Association of American Universities (AAU) and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) requests (SoAR signed onto request letter) $380 million in supplemental appropriations in the next COVID-19 relief package for agricultural research and cooperative extension activities that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Without relief funds, the agricultural research enterprise and extension networks that support local, regional, and national economic development will lose ground and, in some cases, erode due to COVID-19 delays and disruptions.
- Like SoAR (mentioned above), many partners submitted comments to USDA in response to their broad request for stakeholders’ input on agriculture innovations, as part of USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda. You can view submitted comments here.
- AAAS and the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation: Stay tuned for this year’s announcement of the AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture! In the meantime, you can watch the 10th anniversary lecture Science and policy: their Yin and Yang dynamic and global food security that was presented by Robert S. Zeigler, Director General Emeritus, International Rice Research Institute, Philippines, at this link.
News/Events of Agricultural Research Interest:
- The Plant Science Research Network (PSRN) recently released its Plant Science Decadal Vision 2020-2030: Reimagining the Potential of Plants for a Healthy and Sustainable Future, a report that outlines bold, innovative solutions to guide investments and research in plant science over the next 10 years.
Links of Interest:
- USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) webpage - https://www.ree.usda.gov/
- USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Grants webpage - https://nifa.usda.gov/grants
- Peer Review Process for NIFA Competitive Grants Applications - https://nifa.usda.gov/resource/nifa-peer-review-process-competitive-grant-applications