Transforming Agriculture, Perennially
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Research Partners

With a goal as bold as “changing the way the world grows its food,” we know that partners are a critical element to success. The Land Institute’s research partners provide insight, operations support, connectivity, and an expanded community of brainpower and technical capacity.

Our research partners and collaborators are helping to develop Natural Systems Agriculture. In many ways, plant breeding is a numbers game – the more experimental lines evaluated, the better our odds of developing superior, high-yielding perennial crop varieties.

Although The Land Institute is headquartered in Salina, Kansas, our global partnerships spread our researchers’ knowledge and botanical germplasm across five continents with diverse climates and soil types. With our partners, we are dedicated to ensuring worldwide food security without compromising ecosystems integrity through locally adapted, perennial agriculture systems.

Below is a list and description of research groups with which we exchange data or plant material, directly collaborate, and/or provide funding.

Partner Institutions

Agricultural Research Council, South Africa

1134 Park St, Pretoria, 0028, South Africa

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We are co-investigators with researchers at these institutions, along with the lead investigator, Andrew Paterson at the University of Georgia, in a five-year USAID-funded project (starting in 2013) to use Sorghum halepense for the improvement of grain/forage sorghum in Africa, including improvement of ratooning and perenniality.

CIMMYT Turkey Wheat Program, Turkey

Yenimahalle/Ankara, Turkey

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We collaborate with Dr. Alexey Morgunov, the CIMMYT program director, who is testing perennial wheat for productivity and longevity in Turkey’s local ecosystem.

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14850

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Dr. Matthew Ryan leads research regarding the agroecology of The Land Institute’s Kernza® perennial grain in New York state. His research also involves collaboration with processors, millers, and end-users of the grain.

ICRISAT

BP 320 Bamako, Mali

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We are co-investigators with researchers at these institutions, along with the lead investigator, Andrew Paterson at the University of Georgia, in a five-year USAID-funded project (starting in 2013) to use Sorghum halepense for the improvement of grain/forage sorghum in Africa, including improvement of ratooning and perenniality.

ICRISAT

CG Centers Block NASC Complex Dev Prakash Shastri Marg New Delhi 110012, India

Show Description

We are co-investigators with researchers at these institutions, along with the lead investigator, Andrew Paterson at the University of Georgia, in a five-year USAID-funded project (starting in 2013) to use Sorghum halepense for the improvement of grain/forage sorghum in Africa, including improvement of ratooning and perenniality.

Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China

50 Zhongling Street, Nanjing 210014, China

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Dr. Jizhong Wu is evaluating perennial wheat for disease resistance. This work will provide important data for The Land Institute’s perennial wheat breeding program.

Jimma University, Ethiopia

Jimma 378, Ethiopia

Show Description

We are co-investigators with researchers at these institutions, along with the lead investigator, Andrew Paterson at the University of Georgia, in a five-year USAID-funded project (starting in 2013) to use Sorghum halepense for the improvement of grain/forage sorghum in Africa, including improvement of ratooning and perenniality.

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS 66506

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Dr. Jesse Poland currently hosts two post-doctoral fellows in his laboratory to study intermediate wheatgrass genetics. He also supports high-throughput, automated, GPS data collection methods for perennial grain breeding. Both positions are funded by the Perennial Agriculture Project in conjunction with the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation and The Land Institute.

Lethbridge Research Centre, Canada

5403 1 Ave S, Lethbridge, AB T1J 4P4, Canada

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Dr. Jamie Larsen is breeding perennial rye and wheat. He is also working on the molecular genetics of perenniality, disease resistance, and cold tolerance in wheatgrass and perennial wheat. We exchange data and germplasm with Dr. Larsen’s lab.

Lund University, Sweden

Lund, Sweden

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Dr. Lennart Olsson, founding director of the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), actively promotes social and natural science research on Natural Systems Agriculture with perennial grains in Sweden and Sub-Saharan Africa. He has partnered with The Land Institute on numerous research proposals.

Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Kampala, Central Region, Uganda

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This group of collaborators is field testing The Land Institute’s perennial sorghum in the tropics, with the intention of initiating a breeding program to develop perennial sorghum adapted to East African conditions.

Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding, Germany

Carl-von-Linne-Weg 10, 50829 Köln, Germany

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We collaborate with Dr. Maria von Korff and one of her post-doctoral fellows, who are conducting whole-genome gene expression analyses in order to find the essential genes that influence the longevity of perennial wheat. This institute is highly recognized for the study of perenniality in model plant species and is seeking to transfer knowledge and technologies into staple crops.

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI, United States

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Dr. Siegland Snapp's group has worked to evaluate growth and ecosystem function characteristics of perennial wheat and wheatgrass lines including germ plasm from The Land Institute. Dr. Snapp leads work on developing cropping systems that include perennial Pigeon Pea and perennial Sorghum in Malawi and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  

Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio (MEF), Trelew, Argentina

Trelew, Argentina

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Plant Physiologists Drs. Alejandra Vilela and Damian Ravetta are studying the ecophysiological changes in silphium during the process of selecting for increased yield at The Land Institute. They travel to Kansas to work directly with Dr. David Van Tassel, who has also spent time developing experiments in Argentina. This work is funded in part by The Land Institute.

Namik Kemal University, Turkey

Merkez/Tekirdağ, Turkey

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Dr. Metin Tuna and colleagues are evaluating perennial wheat lines for productivity and longevity. His group is interested in the cytogenetic genetics in wheat and wheatgrass hybridization. Their research will provide important context for The Land Institute’s perennial wheat breeding program.

National Council for Agriculture, Italy

Rome, Italy

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Dr. Laura Gazza and colleagues are working in communication with The Land Institute on quality traits such as protein, gluten intolerance, and micronutrition of perennial wheat.

National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute, Serere, Uganda

Serere, Eastern Region, Uganda

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This group of collaborators is field testing The Land Institute’s perennial sorghum in the tropics, with the intention of initiating a breeding program to develop perennial sorghum adapted to East African conditions.

New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Australia

New South Wales, Australia

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Richard Hayes, Matt Newell, and colleagues are working to breed perennial wheat hybrids, as well as trial legume-wheat and wheatgrass intercrops. We exchange data and germplasm with the department.

Northwest A & F University, China

3 Taicheng Rd, 杨凌区 Xianyang, Shaanxi, China, 712100

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Prof. Zhonghua Wang’ group is testing perennial wheat for productivity in the Loess Plateau, a region with some of the most severe soil erosion in the world. His group is also studying the impact of wheat vernalization genes on perenniality. This work is funded by The Land Institute.

Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

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Dr. Steve Culman coordinates a multi-regional study on how simulated grazing at different seasons though biomass clipping influence intermediate wheatgrass grain production and total biomass productivity. Other participating institutions include The Land Institute, Colorado State, Cornell, USDA-ARS-Beltsville, University of Manitoba, Iowa State, Michigan State, University of Wisconsin, and University of Minnesota. Dr. Culman’s work is funded in part by The Land Institute.

Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK 74074

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Prof. Liuling Yan and his post-doctoral fellow are investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying regrowth habit in perennial wheat. Nearly all the current perennial wheat lines show spring-type regrowth, which renders plants less perennial under stressful conditions. This work is funded by the Perennial Agriculture Project in conjunction with the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation and The Land Institute.

Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center, USDA-ARS

Fargo, ND, United States

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Research Geneticist Dr. Brent Hulke and Research Entomologist Jarrad Prasifka are performing field and greenhouse research to investigate the insect pests, pollination biology, and basis of heterosis in silphium. We exchange data and germplasm with Dr. Hulke’s lab.

Saint Louis University and Missouri Botanical Garden

St. Louis, MO

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In collaboration with The Land Institute and the Missouri Botanical Garden, Dr. Allison Miller oversees the Global Inventory Project. Using databases supported by botanical gardens worldwide, Dr. Miller’s group is identifying wild herbaceous perennial species in the legume, grass, and sunflower families that may be of interest for new perennial crop domestication breeding programs. This work is funded in part by the Perennial Agriculture Project in conjunction with the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation and The Land Institute.

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Alnarp Campus

SLU, Box 52, SE-230 53 Alnarp

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Sweden’s SITES program (Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science) maintains nine research stations dedicated to long-term ecological research. Dr. Erik Steen Jensen, Professor of Biosystems and Technology, is the principal investigator for the SITES Agroecological Field Experiment. This experiment consists of four replicated cropping systems, including Land Institute perennial intermediate wheat grass (which produces Kernza® grain) grown alone and intercropped with alfalfa.

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala Campus

Uppsala, Sweden

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Dr. Anna Westerbergh is a plant breeder who is working to perennialize barley by crossing annual barley with wild barley relatives (e.g., Hordeum bulbosum). Anna is also evaluating perennial wheat and intermediate wheatgrass germplasm from The Land Institute for high latitude (~60°) breeding.

Texas A&M

College Station, TX

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For two years, we have been working with Seth Murray at A&M. He has maintained a nursery for testing our perennial sorghum populations in the South Texas environment. In addition, assistant professors of corn breeding and genetics as well as perennial grass breeding are collaborating with field trials of perennial sorghum and silphium in association with The Land Institute and the University of Minnesota.

Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay

Montevideo, Uruguay

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Dr. Pablo Speranza, who studies the population genetics of domestication in perennial forages, is evaluating the ability of silphium to survive and flower in Uruguay. Valentin Picasso (see Univeristy of Wisconsin, Madison below) is also a member of the Agronomy Faculty.

University of Colorado, Boulder

Boulder, CO, United States

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Dr. Nolan Kane will be directing a graduate or post-doctoral student to begin characterizing the genome of silphium. This program will be funded by the Perennial Agriculture Project in conjunction with the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation and The Land Institute.

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

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Dr. Kristen Thorup-Kristensen oversees the DeepFrontier root ecology research project, in which deep-rooted agricultural species are studied in aboveground root towers and with belowground mini-rhizotrons. Intermediate wheatgrass and silphium from The Land Institute are among the species being evaluated.

University of Georgia

Athens, GA

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Since 2009, we have worked with Dr. Andrew Paterson, head of the Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, on mapping perenniality and other traits in tetraploid sorghum populations.

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS, United States

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Drs. Jim Bever, Peggy Shultz, and Ben Sikes (of the University of Illinois) are conducting soil ecology work on perennial polycultures and native grasslands. Dr. Nate Brunsell is researching carbon and hydrological dynamics in perennial crops. Bever and Shultz are the research coordinators for the Perennial Agriculture Project (PAP) research facility outside of Lawrence, Kansas, near Lecompton. The PAP is a joint project between The Land Institute and the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation.

University of Manitoba, Canada

Manitoba, Canada

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Dr. Doug Cattani’s position explicitly centers on the development of perennial grain crops and polyculture cropping systems. He is breeding Kernza® and Maximilian sunflower varieties for Manitoba using germplasm developed at The Land Institute.

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN, United States

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The Land Institute partners with the Forever Green Initiative to develop new perennial crops for the Upper Midwest. This extensive research involves genetic and agroecology experiments with Kernza®, silphium, and other potential new crops. More than 10 PhD level researchers are involved in the work, along with several graduate students. Many of these individuals are funded by the Perennial Agriculture Project, a joint project of the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation and The Land Institute.

University of Vermont

Burlington, VT

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Extension Associate Professor Heather Darby is coordinating on-farm trials with silphium.

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Madison, WI, United States

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Assistant Prof. Valentin Picasso is beginning legume intercropping research with Kernza® and silphium.

Utah State University

Logan, UT

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Dr. Steve Larson, a USDA-ARS grass geneticist, collaborates with The Land Institute scientists to study the genetics of perennial grasses that are being developed into grain crops.

Washington State University

Pullman, WA

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Dr. Steve Jones and his PhD student are breeding and evaluating perennial wheat as a grain and forage crop.

Yunnan University, China

Yunnan, China

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Dr. Fengyi Hu’s lab has successfully bred perennial rice hybrids for paddy cultivation, and continues to work on developing hybrids adapted to upland conditions. The Land Institute helps fund this work, and our scientists serve as advisors to this project.

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