A multi-state coalition of researchers, farmers, educators, industry leaders, policy experts, and climate scientists were recently awarded a competitive five-year, $10 million grant through USDA NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s - Sustainable Agricultural Systems program to scale the research, production, awareness and commercialization of Kernza®, the first commercial perennial grain in the United States.
Kernza® is the trademark name for the perennial grain harvested from new varieties of intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium), a forage grass that has been used by farmers across the United States for decades. As a perennial, Kernza® is planted once and provides several years of harvestable grain. Kernza® has a deep-root system that provides multiple environmental benefits, including improving water and soil quality and reducing soil erosion. Additionally, research has shown that this new perennial grain can increase farm income due to decreased inputs and costs from reduced tilling, pesticide requirements and nutrient runoff. For more information, read the University of Minnesota article.