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Field Notes

Kernza® and Climate Change

Large amounts of carbon were released from the soil when forests and prairies were plowed for agriculture. As climate change becomes more of a threat, soil’s role in releasing or sequestering carbon under agriculture is getting a hard look. With perennial plants and their long root systems, much more carbon stays in the soil than with the constant turnover needed for annuals. The Land Institute is developing perennial grains for many reasons and getting food production involved in the war against climate change could be one of the timeliest, but more work still needs to be done. The Washington Post’s Tamar Haspel looks into these efforts in: “Perennial grains could be a key weapon against climate change. But not yet.”