Read Emily Waltz’ interview with Roger Beachy, the new director for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the new research funding arm of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
What does Beachy’s appoinment mean for researchers, farmers and consumers?
Larger, longer grants with more money for education or extension, so the knowledge can reach from the lab to the food to the fork; a stonger focus on sustinable approaches; and a regulatory stucture that is science based
We need to build enhanced capacity in the US to address urgent agricultural challenges such as sustainable food production and nutrition, readiness for climate aberrations that will impact productivity and developing renewable options like biofuels and industrial and pharmaceutical materials. To address these challenges, Beachy will create sub-institutional structures within NIFA. One of the institutes would address biofuels, climate and environment; another would address food safety and nutrition; a third would address food production and sustainability; and a fourth institute would focus on youth, families and communities.
In terms of biotech crops, Bechy says, “I think it’s important that we stop talking only about risks and talk more about risk-benefit analyses.”