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Research Partners

Collaboration and diversity is our priority

While Kernza® perennial grain got its start at The Land Institute, it would not be where it is today if not for a broad consortium of research scientists helping to improve the crop. Selection and evaluation for yield, seed size, disease resistance, and other traits have been performed at The Land Institute and by collaborators, resulting in new populations and varieties. Research is continuing with an increasing number of research partners globally.

Research Partners

The Land Institute Logo

Salina, Kansas

The Land Institute

Researchers and staff are developing an agriculture of perennials with the ecological stability of the prairie to produce ample human food and reduce or eliminate impacts from the disruptions and dependencies of industrial agriculture.

Plant Breeding and Genetics
Lee DeHaan, PhD

Ecological Intensification
Tim Crews, PhD

Crop Protection
Kathryn Turner, PhD

Breeding for Alfalfa Bi-Culture
Brandon Schlautman, PhD

Tessa Peters, PhD

Education and Community Learning
Aubrey Streit Krug, PhD

Colorado State University Logo

Fort Collins, Colorado

Colorado State University

Researchers are developing theory and methodology for evaluating soil organic matter accumulation under Kernza® and Kernza-alfalfa intercrops, and how the soil microbiome changes in wide hybrid crosses with Kernza® and wheat.

Agricultural Systems Science
Steven Fonte, PhD,Associate Professor

Breeding for Alfalfa Bi-Culture
Siwook Hwang, PhD student

New South Wales Government Logo

Cowra, New South Wales

New South Wales Department of Primary Industries

Researchers at NSW DPI are trialing Kernza® varieties and perennial wheat lines, and experimenting with legume intercrops to establish the role of perennial cereals in grazing systems.

Agroecology and Agronomy of Perennial Grains
Richard Hayes, PhD., Chief Scientist

Perennial Cereals and Forage Systems
Matthew Newell, MS

Cornell University Logo

Ithaca, New York

Cornell University

Researchers at Cornell are exploring questions related to perennial grains intercropping, weed competition, soil health impacts, post-harvest management, and commercialization in the Northeast.

Agroecology of Perennial Grains
Matthew Ryan, PhD, Assistant Professor

Intercropping with Perennial Grains
Eugene Law, PhD Candidate

Post-Harvest Processing
Sandra Wayman, MS

HudsonAlpha Logo

Huntsville, Alabama

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

HudsonAlpha with support from the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, has played a central role in obtaining and refining the intermediate wheatgrass genomic sequence. A good draft sequence is now available and being used by geneticists.

Genome Sequencing
Jeremy Schmutz

Genome Sequencing
Jane Grimwood, PhD

Greenlands Bluewaters Logo

St Paul, Minnesota

Green Lands Blue Waters

Green Lands Blue Waters promotes continuous living cover on the landscape of the Upper Mississippi Basin. They have worked to ensure gaps in the nascent Kernza® supply chain are filled and provided vision as the crop has approached commercialization.

Erin Meier

Associate Director
Aaron Reser

St Paul, Minnesota

University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative

The Forever Green Initiative develops new crops and high-efficiency cropping systems to improve natural resources and provide economic opportunities. The team consists of experts in genomics, breeding, agronomics, food science, and commercialization.

Vision and Leadership
Donald Wyse, PhD

Plant Breeding and Genetics
James Anderson, PhD

Nicholas Jordan, PhD

Supply Chain Development
Colin Cureton, MS

Market Development
Constance Carlson

Food Science
George Annor, PhD

ISARA Lyon Logo

Lyon, France


Researchers are testing the performance of Kernza® in a wide array of different environmental settings to understand potential range of adaptation and develop management approaches and markets for the crop in France.

Performance of perennial grain and market development
Christophe David, PhD

Kansas State University Logo

Manhattan, Kansas

Kansas State University

Kansas State University develops genomic prediction models to increase the efficiency of Kernza® breeding. K-State also coordinates the multi-institution Kernza® genome project resulting in data-rich resources for rapidly improving Kernza® genomics.

Genetics, High Throughput Plant Breeding
Jesse Poland, PhD

Genomic Selection, Genome Wide Association Studies
Jared Crain, PhD

Genetics & Genome Biology
Kevin Dorn, PhD

Lund University Logo

Lund, Sweden

Lund University

Lund University is coordinating on-farm plantings of Kernza® varieties in Sweden as well as perennial sorghum and rice in Uganda, and convening groups of social scientists to explore the socio-economic implications of shifting to perennial grain production.

MIT Logo

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT is exploring the impact of perenniality on plant responses to environmental stress. They make use of the intermediate wheatgrass genome and model species to understand physiological and genetic differences between perennial and annual plants.

David Des Marais, PhD

University of Nebraska - Lincoln Logo

Lincoln, Nebraska

University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Researchers are evaluating the management and production of Kernza® varieties including trials with seven other collaborators and studying the agronomy of organically-managed Kernza® varieties, including intercropping with legumes, nitrogen application rates and weed management.

Andrea Basche, PhD

Perennial Agriculture Project Logo

Lawrence, Kansas

Perennial Agriculture Project

The Perennial Agriculture Project (PAP) field station hosts Kernza® intercropping and soil ecology experiments. The 230-acre field station is owned and operated by the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation as part of a joint project agreement with The Land Institute.

Kernza Alfalfa Bi-cultures
Laura Kemp, Field Station Manager

Swedish University Logo

Uppsala & Alnarp Sweden

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Plant breeders in Uppsala work to perennialize barley by crossing annual barley with wild barley relatives (e.g., Hordeum bulbosum) and evaluate perennial wheat and intermediate wheatgrass germplasm from The Land Institute for high latitude (~60°) breeding. In Alnarp researchers are comparing the soil ecology of perennial Kernza® monocultures with and Kernza®-alfalfa intercrops in the context of a range of annual crop rotation treatments.

Plant Breeding
Anna Westerbergh, PhD

Molecular Plant Breeding
Mohammad Sameri, PhD

Agroecology, Kernza-Alfalfa Bicultures
Linda-Maria Dimitrova Mårtensson, PhD, Assoc. Prof.

Agroecology, Kernza-Alfalfa Bicultures
Alex Huddell, PhD. student

Tel Aviv University Logo

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv University

Researchers hope to improve agricultural sustainability under climate change scenarios of Kernza® and other perennial grains and differential response of annual and perennial plants to drought stress.

Plant Ecology
Nir Sade, PhD


Ankara, Turkey

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)

CIMMYT is a non-profit, non-government international research center aiming to improve wheat and maize production through new varieties and technologies with emphasis on developing countries. CIMMYT-Turkey is involved in testing perennial wheat and Kernza® varieties in Turkey.

Omsk State Logo

Omsk, Russia

Omsk State Agrarian University

Omsk State Agrarian University provides education to 3000+ students and conducts wheat breeding and research. Since 2015, the university is involved testing Kernza® as well as perennial wheat and is involved in improvement of Agropyrum intermediate.

Ohio State University Logo

Wooster, Ohio

The Ohio State University

Researchers are organizing multi-institutional experiments to examine the potential for Kernza® to be used for grain production as well as a forage crop including defoliation effects on Kernza® grain yields, forage quality, root production, soil health, and food webs.

Soil Fertility and Grazing Effects
Steve Culman, PhD

Soil Food Webs and Belowground Dynamics
Christine Sprunger, PhD

Grazing and Forage
Mark Sulc, PhD

Forage and Agronomy
Ryan Haden, PhD

Michigan State University W.K. Kellogg Biological Station Logo

Hickory Corners, MI

W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University

Researchers conduct studies evaluating Kernza® varieties for dual use (grain and forage) in organic and conventional systems. Past studies have evaluated the environmental benefits of Kernza® varieties relative to annual and perennial wheat

Forage, Grazing, Agronomy, Ecology
Brook Wilke, PhD

UC Davis Logo

Davis, California

University of California, Davis

Current studies into the potential adaptability of Kernza® varieties to a Mediterranean environment including carbon sequestration and the impact of a perennial versus annual grain soil microbial community composition and biomass are being conducted.

Director of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP)
Gail Feenstra

Soil Microbial Ecology
Kate Scow, PhD

Soil Microbial Ecology
Kalyn Diederich

Sustainable Supply Chains
Gwenael Engelskirchen

University Copenhagen Logo

Copenhagen, Denmark

University of Copenhagen

NovoCrops Center for Accelerated Domestication of Resilient Climate Change Friendly Plant Species is conducting research on mutagenesis for accelerated breeding of Kernza® varieties, tested using a variety of methods. Research into how deep-rooted crop species affect soil properties and functions is also being conducted.

Plant Molecular Biology
Michael Palmgren, PhD, DSc, Professor

DeepFrontier / Crop Sciences
Kristian Thorup-Kristensen, PhD, Professor

University Kansas Logo

Lawrence, Kansas

University of Kansas

Studies range from mycorrhizal associations with Kernza® and mixed species stands, to fungal community changes based on conversion of annual crops to perennials, to water-carbon balances of perennial grain crops using eddy covariance tower data.

Mycorrhizal Associations
Jim Bever, PhD

Soil Microbiome
Tom McKenna, PhD.

Water-Carbon Balances
Nate Brunsell, PhD

University of Manitoba Logo

Winnipeg, Canada

University of Manitoba

Plant breeders in Manitoba breed Kernza® varieties for extreme environments, winter hardiness, and intercropping. Studies of Kernza® varieties in organic cropping systems, grazing, and alternative planting times are also ongoing.

Plant Breeding
Doug Cattani, PhD

Martin Entz, PhD

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Logo

St Louis, Missouri

Danforth Plant Science Center

Studies include perennial crops and wild species, evolution and plasticity in perennial plants, and novel crops for perennial agriculture. The Miller lab is a joint faculty partnership with Saint Louis University and works closely with the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Perennial Plant Diversity and Evolution
Allison Miller, PhD

University of Wisconsin-Madison Logo

Madison, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin – Madison

Kernza® varieties in sustainable agriculture and grazing systems in the Midwestern United States including grazing systems and Kernza®-alfalfa bicultures. Research also includes weed establishment and competition in competition with Kernza® varieties.

Valentin Picasso, PhD

USDA Agricultural Research Service Partner Logo

Utah State University, Logan, UT

USDA ARS Forage and Range Research

Research aims to identify genes controlling forage and seed production traits of perennial wheatgrasses including seedling vigor, persistence, and compatibility in polyculture and to develop Kernza® varieties for the Intermountain Region of the western U.S.

Grass Breeding and Genetics
Steve Larson, PhD

North Dakota State University Logo

Williston, North Dakota

NDSU Williston Research Extension Center

Studies include increasing farm profitability with alternative crops and reduced reliance on synthetic inputs. Evaluations of varieties, herbicide safety, and fertilization will help determine best management practices for Kernza® varieties in North Dakota.

Williston REC Extension Program
Clair Keene, PhD

USDA Agricultural Research Service Partner Logo

Booneville, Arkansas

USDA ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center

Kernza® varieties as alternative dual-use crops in alley cropping and silvopastoral systems of the Mid-South and agronomics of intercropping with perennial legumes for maintaining quality and for weed control under organic and conventional management are studied.

Agroecology and Multifunctional Grazing Systems
Jose Franco, PhD

USDA Agricultural Research Service Partner Logo

Fayetteville, Arkansas

USDA ARS Poultry Production and Product Safety Unit

Research includes phosphorus runoff following poultry litter applications in perennial and annual agroecosystems with and without cover crops and evaluation of the potential for Kernza® varieties to serve as dual-use, grazable filter strips and identify how perenniality traits (root architecture) affect surface hydrology and nutrient loading in runoff from soils receiving long-term poultry litter.

Soil Science and Agroecology
Amanda Ashworth, PhD

Ecos Fair Logo

Beelitz, Germany


Sustainable farming systems require moving beyond annual monocultures towards perennial crops and wild species in polyculture systems. They aim to foster the introduction of Kernza® varieties and perennial polyculture regimes to Germany.

Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Conservation
Hans-Holger Liste, Dr. habil

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Logo

Karlsruhe, Germany

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

KIT analyzes the chemical composition of perennial crop constituents. Also, the link between compositional data and grain functionality will be evaluated.

Cereal Chemistry
Mirko Bunzel, Dr. habil

Chicago Botanic Garden Logo

Mettawa, IL

Chicago Botanic Garden, Northwestern University, Loyola University

This multi-institutional partnership is focusing on soil functions and related ecosystems services of different agricultural approaches including annual grains, pasture, and Kernza® varieties grown as a single species or intercropped with legumes.

Waseca, MN

Agricultural Utilization Research Institution (AURI)

AURI’s Kernza® projects are focused on the evaluation and characterization of Kernza® grain, byproducts, and biomass for use in food, feed, fuel, and other bio-based products.

Supply Chain
Riley Gordon

Supply Chain
Alexandra Diemer

Supply Chain
Matthew Leiphon