Research and Development Agency For Agriculture
DARPA which stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is a branch of the US Department of Defense.
The purpose of the agency is to find new technologies and make them operationally ready, if possible, and to reach beyond current military technology to do something new.
So how about a similar agency for American Agriculture? If it survives the final version of the new Farm Bill it will happen.
Dr. Sally Rockey Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research was asked about the idea at the Ag Innovation Summit hosted by CSU recently.
"There is a proposal in the 2018 Farm Bill a proposal to start AG ARDA which is the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority. It is not actual funding for it but an authorization to start it. We've actually been working very closely with the congress about the language there and with the USDA. The interesting thing about our foundation is that because we don't have a DARPA like DOE or Defense has, our foundation has in many ways taken on that role. However because we have to fundraise and because we have to find that match we can't work as quickly. The USDA needs this because then the technology is taken right back to the USDA when it happens. So I'm looking forward to that."
In a keynote speech Rockey said the next 35 years will be the most important years ever in agricultural development. There will be 9 billion people to feed by 2050 but innovation can't wait.