Listen: Kernza's continuous cover

by Peter LaFontaine

(Photo:Thinopyrum intermedium field by Dehaan CC BY-SA 3.0)

Our friends at the Land Stewardship Project released a new episode of their "Ear To The Ground" podcast on one of FMR's favorite topics: Kernza.

Kernza, or (in scientist-speak) "Intermediate Wheatgrass," is one of a handful of exciting new crops that could help farmers and our river.

What on earth is exciting about wheatgrass? I promise: It's pretty revolutionary! Right now our state devotes most of our agricultural land to conventional annual crops like soybeans and corn. These plants have a short growing season and wind up squandering a lot of the fertilizer farmers use to amp up production. That fertilizer then washes off of fields and into rivers and groundwater supplies, causing massive ecological damage and hurting our health.

Kernza, in contrast, is a perennial, which means its deep roots stay active in the ground year-round and help to keep fertilizer where it belongs: on the fields and in the plants. It stabilizes soil and prevents erosion, and it also tastes great in bread, beer, and more. This is why FMR is working to get more Kernza and other clean-water crops onto the landscape in Minnesota.

Listen below or download LSP's podcast to hear from some of the farmers and researchers behind this effort, and learn how it might just change the face of agriculture.

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