Iowa State University and 10 other leading research universities have joined the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation to call for stronger federal support of the food and agricultural sciences.

Their new report, Retaking the Field — Strengthening the Science of Farm and Food Production, explores research projects funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) at each institution.

"Iowa is a perennial powerhouse of agricultural production, a key economic driver for our state that depends on science," said Wendy Wintersteen, endowed dean of Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "The Retaking the Field report is a great example of universities joining in a common message calling for increased federal investment in food, agricultural and natural resources research.

"The drought in federal funding of food and agricultural research still exists," said Thomas Grumbly, president of SoAR.

The new report outlines Iowa State research led by Hongwei Xin and colleagues, who developed adaptations for cage-free egg production systems that improve indoor air quality and allow more farmers to respond to consumer demand.