7 U.S. Code § 5939 - Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

§ 5939.
Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
(a) DefinitionsIn this section:
(1) Board

The term “Board” means the Board of Directors described in subsection (e).

(2) Department

The term “Department” means the Department of Agriculture.

(3) Foundation

The term “Foundation” means the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research established under subsection (b).

(4) Secretary

The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Agriculture.

(b) Establishment
(1) In general

The Secretary shall establish a nonprofit corporation to be known as the “Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research”.

(2) Status

The Foundation shall not be an agency or instrumentality of the United States Government.

(c) PurposesThe purposes of the Foundation shall be—
(1) to advance the research mission of the Department by supporting agricultural research activities focused on addressing key problems of national and international significance including—
plant health, production, and plant products;
animal health, production, and products;
food safety, nutrition, and health;
renewable energy, natural resources, and the environment;
agricultural and food security;
agriculture systems and technology; and
agriculture economics and rural communities; and
to foster collaboration with agricultural researchers from the Federal Government, State (as defined in section 3103 of this title) governments, institutions of higher education (as defined in section 1001 of title 20), industry, and nonprofit organizations.
(d) Duties
(1) In generalThe Foundation shall—
award grants to, or enter into contracts, memoranda of understanding, or cooperative agreements with, scientists and entities, which may include agricultural research agencies in the Department, university consortia, public-private partnerships, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and industry, to efficiently and effectively advance the goals and priorities of the Foundation;
(B) in consultation with the Secretary
identify existing and proposed Federal intramural and extramural research and development programs relating to the purposes of the Foundation described in subsection (c); and
coordinate Foundation activities with those programs so as to minimize duplication of existing efforts and to avoid conflicts;
identify unmet and emerging agricultural research needs after reviewing the roadmap for agricultural research, education, and extension authorized by section 7614a of this title;
facilitate technology transfer and release of information and data gathered from the activities of the Foundation to the agricultural research community;
promote and encourage the development of the next generation of agricultural research scientists; and
carry out such other activities as the Board determines to be consistent with the purposes of the Foundation.
(2) Relationship to other activities

The activities described in paragraph (1) shall be supplemental to any other activities at the Department and shall not preempt any authority or responsibility of the Department under another provision of law.

(e) Board of Directors
(1) Establishment

The Foundation shall be governed by a Board of Directors.

(2) Composition
(A) In general

The Board shall be composed of appointed and ex-officio, nonvoting members.

(B) Ex-officio membersThe ex-officio members of the Board shall be the following individuals or designees of such individuals:
The Secretary.
The Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics.
The Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service.
The Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The Director of the National Science Foundation.
(C) Appointed members
(i) In generalThe ex-officio members of the Board (as specified in subparagraph (B)) shall, by majority vote, appoint to the Board 15 individuals, of whom—
8 shall be selected from a list of candidates to be provided by the National Academy of Sciences; and
7 shall be selected from lists of candidates provided by industry.
(ii) Requirements
(I) Expertise

The ex-officio members shall ensure that a majority of the appointed members of the Board have actual experience in agricultural research and, to the extent practicable, represent diverse sectors of agriculture.

(II) Limitation

No employee of the Federal Government may serve as an appointed member of the Board under this subparagraph.

(III) Not Federal employment

Appointment to the Board under this subparagraph shall not constitute Federal employment.

(iii) Authority

All appointed members of the Board shall be voting members.

(D) Chair

The Board shall, from among the members of the Board, designate an individual to serve as Chair of the Board.

(3) Initial meetingNot later than 60 days after February 7, 2014, the Secretary shall convene a meeting of the ex-officio members of the Board—
to incorporate the Foundation; and
to appoint the members of the Board in accordance with paragraph (2)(C)(i).
(4) Duties
(A) In generalThe Board shall—
(i) establish bylaws for the Foundation that, at a minimum, include—
policies for the selection of future Board members, officers, employees, agents, and contractors of the Foundation;
(II) policies, including ethical standards, for—
the acceptance, solicitation, and disposition of donations and grants to the Foundation; and
the disposition of assets of the Foundation, including appropriate limits on the ability of donors to designate, by stipulation or restriction, the use or recipient of donated funds;
policies that would subject all employees, fellows, trainees, and other agents of the Foundation (including members of the Board) to conflict of interest standards in the same manner as Federal employees are subject to the conflict of interest standards under section 208 of title 18;
policies for writing, editing, printing, publishing, and vending of books and other materials;
policies for the conduct of the general operations of the Foundation, including a cap on administrative expenses for recipients of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement from the Foundation; and
specific duties for the Executive Director;
prioritize and provide overall direction for the activities of the Foundation;
evaluate the performance of the Executive Director; and
carry out any other necessary activities regarding the Foundation.
(B) Establishment of bylawsIn establishing bylaws under subparagraph (A)(i), the Board shall ensure that the bylaws do not—
reflect unfavorably on the ability of the Foundation to carry out the duties of the Foundation in a fair and objective manner; or
compromise, or appear to compromise, the integrity of any governmental agency or program, or any officer or employee employed by, or involved in, a governmental agency or program.
(5) Terms and vacancies
(A) Terms
(i) In general

The term of each member of the Board appointed under paragraph (2)(C) shall be 5 years, except that of the members initially appointed, 8 of the members shall each be appointed for a term of 3 years and 7 of the members shall each be appointed for a term of 2 years.

(ii) Partial terms

If a member of the Board does not serve the full term applicable under clause (i), the individual appointed to fill the resulting vacancy shall be appointed for the remainder of the term of the predecessor of the individual.

(iii) Transition

A member of the Board may continue to serve after the expiration of the term of the member until a successor is appointed.

(B) Vacancies

After the initial appointment of the members of the Board under paragraph (2)(C), any vacancy in the membership of the Board shall be filled as provided in the bylaws established under paragraph (4)(A)(i).

(6) Compensation

Members of the Board may not receive compensation for service on the Board but may be reimbursed for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred in carrying out the duties of the Board.

(7) Meetings and quorum

A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for purposes of conducting the business of the Board.

(f) Administration
(1) Executive Director
(A) In general

The Board shall hire an Executive Director who shall carry out such duties and responsibilities as the Board may prescribe.

(B) Service

The Executive Director shall serve at the pleasure of the Board.

(2) Administrative powers
(A) In generalIn carrying out this section, the Board, acting through the Executive Director, may—
adopt, alter, and use a corporate seal, which shall be judicially noticed;
hire, promote, compensate, and discharge 1 or more officers, employees, and agents, as may be necessary, and define the duties of the officers, employees, and agents;
solicit and accept any funds, gifts, grants, devises, or bequests of real or personal property made to the Foundation, including such support from private entities;
(iv) prescribe the manner in which—
real or personal property of the Foundation is acquired, held, and transferred;
general operations of the Foundation are to be conducted; and
the privileges granted to the Board by law are exercised and enjoyed;
with the consent of the applicable executive department or independent agency, use the information, services, and facilities of the department or agency in carrying out this section on a reimbursable basis;
enter into contracts with public and private organizations for the writing, editing, printing, and publishing of books and other material;
hold, administer, invest, and spend any funds, gifts, grant, devise, or bequest of real or personal property made to the Foundation;
enter into such contracts, leases, cooperative agreements, and other transactions as the Board considers appropriate to conduct the activities of the Foundation;
modify or consent to the modification of any contract or agreement to which the Foundation is a party or in which the Foundation has an interest;
take such action as may be necessary to obtain and maintain patents for and to license inventions (as defined in section 201 of title 35) developed by the Foundation, employees of the Foundation, or derived from the collaborative efforts of the Foundation;
sue and be sued in the corporate name of the Foundation, and complain and defend in courts of competent jurisdiction;
appoint other groups of advisors as may be determined necessary to carry out the functions of the Foundation; and
exercise such other incidental powers as are necessary to carry out the duties and functions of the Foundation in accordance with this section.
(B) Limitation

No appointed member of the Board or officer or employee of the Foundation or of any program established by the Foundation (other than ex-officio members of the Board) shall exercise administrative control over any Federal employee.

(3) Records
(A) AuditsThe Foundation shall—
provide for annual audits of the financial condition of the Foundation; and
make the audits, and all other records, documents, and other papers of the Foundation, available to the Secretary and the Comptroller General of the United States for examination or audit.
(B) Reports
(i) Annual report on Foundation
(I) In generalNot later than 5 months following the end of each fiscal year, the Foundation shall publish a report for the preceding fiscal year that includes—
a description of Foundation activities, including accomplishments; and
a comprehensive statement of the operations and financial condition of the Foundation.
(II) Financial conditionEach report under subclause (I) shall include a description of all gifts, grants, devises, or bequests to the Foundation of real or personal property or money, which shall include—
the source of the gifts, grants, devises, or bequests; and
any restrictions on the purposes for which the gift, grant, devise, or bequest may be used.
(III) AvailabilityThe Foundation shall—
make copies of each report submitted under subclause (I) available for public inspection; and
on request, provide a copy of the report to any individual.
(IV) Public meeting

The Board shall hold an annual public meeting to summarize the activities of the Foundation.

(ii) Grant reporting

Any recipient of a grant under subsection (d)(1)(A) shall provide the Foundation with a report at the conclusion of any research or studies conducted that describes the results of the research or studies, including any data generated.

(4) Integrity
(A) In general

To ensure integrity in the operations of the Foundation, the Board shall develop and enforce procedures relating to standards of conduct, financial disclosure statements, conflicts of interest (including recusal and waiver rules), audits, and any other matters determined appropriate by the Board.

(B) Financial conflicts of interestAny individual who is an officer, employee, or member of the Board is prohibited from any participation in deliberations by the Foundation of a matter that would directly or predictably affect any financial interest of—
the individual;
a relative (as defined in section 109 of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.)) of that individual; or
a business organization or other entity in which the individual has an interest, including an organization or other entity with which the individual is negotiating employment.
(5) Intellectual property

The Board shall adopt written standards to govern the ownership and licensing of any intellectual property rights derived from the collaborative efforts of the Foundation.

(6) Liability

The United States shall not be liable for any debts, defaults, acts, or omissions of the Foundation nor shall the full faith and credit of the United States extend to any obligations of the Foundation.

(g) Funds
(1) Mandatory funding
(A) In general

On February 7, 2014, of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Secretary shall transfer to the Foundation to carry out this section $200,000,000, to remain available until expended under the conditions described in subparagraph (B).

(B) Conditions on expenditure

The Foundation may use the funds made available under subparagraph (A) to carry out the purposes of the Foundation only to the extent that the Foundation secures an equal amount of non-Federal matching funds for each expenditure.

(C) Prohibition on construction

None of the funds made available under subparagraph (A) may be used for construction.

(2) Separation of funds

The Executive Director shall ensure that any funds received under paragraph (1) are held in separate accounts from funds received from nongovernmental entities as described in subsection (f)(2)(A)(iii).

(Pub. L. 113–79, title VII, § 7601, Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 904.)
References in Text

Section 109 of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, referred to in subsec. (f)(4)(B)(ii), is section 109 of Pub. L. 95–521, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.


Section was enacted as part of the Agricultural Act of 2014, and not as part of subtitle H of title XVI of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 which comprises this subchapter.


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