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Handlers

Moving Kernza® from farm to market

Unlike wheat, Kernza® grain can not be taken to the local grain elevator. From cleaning, dehulling, and milling the grain to purchasing and distributing it, innovative and resilient handlers are working to take Kernza® from the farmer’s field to market.

Why handlers are excited about getting Kernza® to market

  • Kernza® is a unique grain, unlike anything else on the market.
  • Kernza® provides a fresh opportunity for expanding product portfolios.
  • Growing demand creates a unique opportunity for handlers entering the Kernza® supply chain.
  • Kernza® supply chains are new, diverse, and committed to sustainability.

Follow the Kernza® Supply Chain

What is a Kernza® handler?

Handlers make up the middle of the supply chain. Some handlers contract production or purchase grain for re-sale and distribution. They also transport, clean, dehull, and mill the grain; others market finished product. Any combination of these activities is considered “handling” the grain. A Kernza® handler is licenced to use the tradename.

What processing does Kernza® grain require?

Currently, Kernza® grain after harvest contains a hull and requires equipment for dehulling. In the future, some uses, such as malting, may not require dehulling. Some buyers also desire milled Kernza®. To date, Kernza® has only been milled into whole grain flour. It has a high bran content that can be partially sifted out depending on the end use of the grain. Handlers have successfully used roller, hammer, and stone mills to mill Kernza® in both small (50 lbs) and moderate (1,000+ lbs) quantities.

How is Kernza® grain distributed?

Kernza® grain is usually directed to a facility capable of cleaning and dehulling after harvest. From there, distributors ensure that grain is available for purchase by downstream users. They store, package, and ship Kernza®.

How do I become a Kernza® handler?

Kernza® handlers include transportation and shipping specialists, grain cleaning and dehulling operations, and millers. Handlers enter into trademark licensing agreements with The Land Institute that allow them to purchase and sell certified Kernza® grain. If you are interested in becoming a Kernza® handler, please fill out this form.

What are the challenges to scaling production?

Currently, there are only about two processing facilities who are bringing Kernza® from the farm gate to clean, food-grade whole grain. Significant investment and collaboration are required to provide more geographically diverse opportunities for cleaning, dehulling, and milling of Kernza® grain.

Already a Kernza® Handler?

Renew your trademark License

Kernza® licences are renewed annually. Please contact us at kernza@landinstitute.org for the most up to date form licence. Use this link to submit your signed license agreement.

Review Identity Preserved Program

The Identity Preserved Program was established and is managed by The Land Institute to ensure that Intermediate Wheatgrass marketed as Kernza® is the highest quality seed and grain for the market. The program ensures that growers collect and provide data, integrating them into a world-wide, production scale research project to inform the research and product goals of The Land Institute and its partners. Download the Identity Preserved Program protocol here.

What is certified Kernza® grain?

As a trademark protected grain, Kernza® seed must be grown from approved Kernza® varieties and seed and grain must be obtained through approved Kernza® growers. Because Kernza® seed and grain is coming from high quality sources and is of the best, most recent varieties, we can ensure high quality Kernza® along the entire supply chain.

Find Grain for Sale

If you are interested in purchasing small amounts of Kernza® grain for your personal use, please check back periodically. Currently, no one is selling Kernza® at this scale, but we hope to fill the gap in the supply chain soon. If you are interested in purchasing wholesale grain for use in a restaurant or in a product for sale, you can find more information on our Network page.

If you are a licensed Kernza® handler seeking to purchase grain from growers, please contact us at kernza@landinstitute.org and we will connect you with growers who have grain for purchase.

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Kernza® Identity Preserved Program Guidelines