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Posts tagged: The Land Institute

Perennial Grains are Getting Bigger

Deputy Secretary Merrigan beside a banner comparing the shallow roots of annual wheat with the deep roots of its perennial relative, wheatgrass.  The banner hung in the Patio of the Whitten Building for three months time and was viewed by thousands of USDA employees and stakeholders.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan beside a banner comparing the shallow roots of annual wheat with the deep roots of its perennial relative, wheatgrass. The banner hung in the Patio of the Whitten Building for three months time and was viewed by thousands of USDA employees and stakeholders.

President Obama stressed the importance of innovation in his State of the Union address – and reminded us, “We do big things.”  Wes Jackson, who lent USDA the banner pictured here, founded The Land Institute around the “big idea” of using nature as a model for agriculture, including perennial grain crops whose deep roots hold soil in place and take up water and nutrients year-round, rather than the more typical annual grains that produce a big harvest and then die each year.  But perennial grains generally lack big seeds and high yields, and it has been difficult to breed grains that are both perennial and high-yielding. Read more »