Session sponsor: Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR).
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships (PPP) to support actionable research addressing global food and agriculture challenges. The PPP model engages farmers, producers, industry and government stakeholders to develop and deliver solutions to problems farmers are facing with a focus on improving profitability. The model also increases investment in agriculture research through a 1:1 match requirement; on average, FFAR garners $1.40 from non-federal sources for every federal dollar spent on research, delivering a powerful return on investment and increasing the value of investment.
FFAR Executive Director Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin and private sector partners including PepsiCo, Nestle, and the Environmental Defense Fund will discuss the necessity of PPP in driving American research competitiveness.
Saharah Moon Chapotin, Ph.D.
Executive Director, FFAR
Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin joined the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) as the executive director in August 2022.
Chapotin is a plant scientist who is passionate about sharing the importance of plants and agriculture. She has more than 15 years of experience in federal leadership, using science to inform policy and advancing agriculture research. Most recently, Chapotin served as the executive director of the United States Botanic Garden (USBG), a position she held from 2018 to 2022. Prior to her role at USBG, Chapotin worked at the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for over 11 years. Chapotin holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University and a doctorate in plant physiology from Harvard University.
Senior Director of Government Affairs, PepsiCo
Dan Christenson is the senior director for government affairs for PepsiCo. In this role, Christenson leads PepsiCo’s policy engagement with the federal government. Previously, he served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2011 to 2016, where he was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy to Secretary Tom Vilsack from 2014 to 2016. Before joining USDA, Christenson served for several years as a Senior Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee – first under Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and later for Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. Christenson is a magna cum laude graduate of Luther College, and received his M.A. from Iowa State University.
Manager of Policy and Public Affairs, Nestle
Meg Villarreal is Director of Policy & Public Affairs for Nestlé based in Arlington, VA. Meg has over 20 years of policy and public affairs experience in Washington D.C. and throughout the states. Currently, Meg supports Nestlé’s U.S. policy agenda and creates and maintains stakeholder relationships in policy areas critical to Nestlé’s business including energy, climate change, regenerative agriculture and the environment, the Purina business and state affairs. Before coming to Nestlé, she ran the government affairs shops at J.M Smucker, Big Heart Pet Brands and Del Monte Foods and worked on Capitol Hill.
Manager of Federal Affairs, Environmental Defense Fund
Nya joined EDF as Manager, Federal Affairs in May 2023. She engages lawmakers on Capitol Hill and federal agencies on agriculture policy, as well as other issues related to water policy. Passionate about shaping agriculture policy and promoting environmental justice, Nya previously served as a Communications & Legislative Affairs Associate at the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR), where she actively informed legislative constituencies about FFAR's work and process and engaged stakeholders. Prior to joining FFAR, Nya served as the director of legislative affairs & diversity, and communications coordinator at Old Dominion University.
About NCFAR’s Lunch-N-Learn Series:
The National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NCFAR) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, consensus-based, and customer-led coalition that brings together food, agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and natural resource stakeholders to serve as a forum and unified voice supporting increased federal investment in USDA Research, Education, and Economics (USDA REE). NCFAR’s popular "Lunch-N-Learn" series and webinars feature experts from institutions across the country sharing expertise on a wide range of topics to show the value of public investment in food and agricultural research. This event will be held in-person at 1302 Longworth House Office Building.