Ancient Grain Going Modern
One of the world’s oldest grains has found new life. Now, a new $10 million grant aims to further boost commercial use of Kernza.
Informally known as the Kernza Cap, the five-year program, which began Sept. 1, seeks to promote the production, awareness and commercialization of Kernza, which supporters say is the first commercial perennial grain in the United States.
“This project will simultaneously advance the genetics of Kernza, guide farmers on how to grow it, and partner with companies on how to use and market it. We envision this collaborative approach will ensure that Kernza is agronomically sound, economically viable and environmentally sustainable,” said Dr. Jacob Jungers, assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural, and a leader in the project.
Unlike regular wheat — an annual plant that must be planted every year — Kernza is planted just once and comes back year after year.