Contact: James Carskadon
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum is joining agriculture leaders, including U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in Washington, D.C. this week for a public forum hosted by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.
Keenum was appointed to the FFAR Board of Directors in 2014 and has served as chair since 2017. The organization was established by the 2014 Farm Bill and works to connect funders, researchers and farmers through public-private partnerships to support innovative research addressing the world’s biggest food and agriculture challenges.
The FFAR Board of Directors’ annual Public Conversation, held Thursday [Sept. 8], provides an opportunity for the public and members of the food and agriculture community to hear from and interact with FFAR’s leadership in a public forum. Keenum provided an overview of the organization’s progress since it was created and introduced Secretary Vilsack, who serves as an ex officio board member.
“As president of Mississippi’s leading research university, one of my responsibilities is to effectively communicate the value of public agriculture research and further that research with decision-makers in Congress and in the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said Keenum. “One meaningful opportunity I’ve had to do that is through serving as chairman of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. FFAR matches every federal research dollar with at least a dollar from a nonfederal source. On average, the Foundation garners $1.40 for every federal dollar allocated, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. With FFAR’s allocation from Congress, and the average matching rate, FFAR is on track to invest nearly a billion dollars into food and agriculture research.”
A three-time MSU graduate in agricultural economics and former USDA under secretary, Keenum has worked throughout his tenure as president to strengthen the university’s contributions to international food security and global economic sustainability. He was among the university presidents to sign the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security at the United Nations in New York City in 2014, marking the first time universities around the world began to share a collective focus on ending food insecurity. He has twice been invited to speak at the United Nations, sharing details about the crucial roles public research universities play as the global community works to address critical challenges. He also served a term as chairman of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development.
For more on FFAR, visit www.foundationfar.org.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.