Kernza pays off for MN water supplies

by Peter LaFontaine

After decades of breeding efforts, the flagship "clean-water crop," Kernza, is ready for prime time!

From the Star Tribune: "The soil and water near some of the most polluted wells in Minnesota is almost entirely clean three years after a new type of wheat[grass] was planted on the surface. The perennial wheat[grass], called Kernza, was grown just west of Brainerd on a few acres immediately surrounding wells within corn and soybean fields. Over the past three years, it cut nitrate contamination from the cornfields by 96% and from soybeans by 86%."

Those results are a game-changer for our efforts to keep water pollution under control. As more Kernza gets planted in different parts of the state, the amount of nitrate and other pollutants should continue to drop dramatically, saving Minnesota taxpayers millions by avoiding the cost of ever-expanding water treatment facilities.

The health of the Mississippi River is directly tied to the health of the lands in its watershed. In addition to supporting conservation funding, FMR advocates for clean-water crops in Minnesota and supports new partnerships to advance innovative farming practices that benefit both farmers and our waters. 

You can help!

Your voice is essential to our efforts to protect, restore and enhance the Mississippi River. Our #1 legislative priority this session is securing the resources needed to support the Forever Green Partnership, which guides the development of Kernza and other innovative eco-smart crops. With a decision on Forever Green funding looming, we need your help to push this vital program over the finish line — take action here!

Become a River Guardian, and we'll email you when an important river issue arises and make it quick and easy to contact decision-makers. River Guardians are also invited to special events, including happy hours, about important legislative and metro river corridor issues.