2015 Green Lands
Blue Waters Conference

Bridges and Buffers, Farms and Cities:
Continuous Living Cover Farming Systems


Perennial Grains Session

November 3, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm -- Room 324


Grain crops make up 50% of farmland and human calories globally and are a critical component to the farming economy in the Upper Midwest. However, the major grain crops are annuals and are associated with a number of negative environmental consequences. Substituting annual grain crops with perennial grain crops could improve soil health, water quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and result in farming systems that require less labor and financial inputs. Incorporating perennial grains into farms and food requires coordinated research activities by plant breeders, agronomists, food scientists, farmers, end-users, and consumers.

A panel of representatives from these groups – including Jim Anderson (Breeding and Genetics), Carmen Fernholz (Farmer), Pam Ismail (Food Science), and Jacob Jungers (Agronomy)—will describe their work on the development of intermediate wheatgrass into a perennial grain crop marketed as Kernza®. The panel will then lead a group-wide discussion on the challenges and opportunities related to the perennial grain crop enterprise.


Jim Anderson
Carmen Fernholz
Pam Ismail
Jacob Jungers




Carmen Fernholz
Carmen Fernholz, organic farmer



Carmen and his wife Sally operate a 425 acre diversified certified organic cropping system farm near Madison, Minnesota. Carmen also participates in numerous winter workshops, does significant on farm research in collaboration with the University of Minnesota and provides extensive one on one consulting with transitioning, new and experienced organic farmers throughout the Midwest. A Frame Farms has been certified organic since 1975.


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Jacob Jungers
Jacob Jungers, University of Minnesota



Jake Jungers is a research associate in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota. Jake conducts research to develop and implement new land management practices that provide agricultural products, mitigate environmental pollution, and enhance biodiversity. Much of his research has been on prairie bioenergy systems, and is now focused on perennial grains. He is a founding member of the Midwest Conservation Biomass Alliance and an active member of the local food movement in the Twin Cities. Jake earned a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and a Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota.


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