What We Do
Kernza® is a new crop without established best management practices. With our experience as farmers and ag researchers, Sustain-A-Grain is working with growers to identify and share practices which will further improve Kernza®’s profitability and sustainability.
In our four seasons of experience growing Kernza® seed stock and grain for market, we have learned many lessons that will prove valuable to other growers. We know the challenges of marketing small volumes of a new grain and the unique aspects of harvesting and handling Kernza®.
Sustain-A-Grain is building a coalition of growers across the Great Plains, starting in Central Kansas. We are looking for partners who share our economic and environmental goals. Farmers who purchase seed from Sustain-A-Grain will have access to the collective know-how, unique marketing opportunities, and specialized grain handling and cleaning infrastructure being developed by the Sustain-A-Grain team.
Is Kernza® the right crop for me?
As a perennial grain with a market still in development, Kernza® poses unique opportunities and challenges that should be fully considered.
- Kernza® mimics the perennial prairie grasses that are native to the Great Plains. By eliminating tillage, it can be a good option for regenerating your soil and improving ecosystem health.
- Kernza® can be grazed during certain periods each year. This can further add to the economic sustainability of the crop.
- Kernza® should follow corn, alfalfa, or short-season beans, not cereals, in your rotation.
- Current varieties of Kernza® have a 3-5 year productive window before rotating to the next crop. The first year may have limited grain production.
- Kernza® can be harvested with traditional equipment with a few modifications.
- Sustain-A-Grain is currently developing storage options for participating growers. Until those facilities are up and running, you’ll likely need to dedicate some on-farm storage to Kernza®.
Is Sustain-A-Grain the right partner for me?
We hope so. And if we’re not, we’d like to hear what we can do to make that true.
With any new crop, there are a lot of moving pieces between the seed and the plate. At the moment, we provide the following services for Kernza® producers:
- Seed: As certified seed growers for The Land Institute, we can provide high quality seed –including new varieties.
- Advisory: As some of the earliest commercial growers of Kernza®, we’ve made a lot of mistakes and have started to learn a few things. We’re happy to share that knowledge — from planting to harvest– with any of our partner growers.
- Marketing: Many buyers need to purchase more Kernza® than one grower can provide. With our extensive network of Kernza® buyers and the ability to bring producers together, we can help all our partner growers to access new and lucrative sales opportunities.
- Handling and Processing: We are a licensed Kernza® handler and have established relationships with mills and processors in order to get your Kernza® ready for market. We are also building out cleaning and processing facilities that are customized for Kernza® in order to improve speed and reduce sort loss.
- Price Guarantees: We know that growing a new crop can be risky. We are prepared to offer certain price guarantees to our partner growers who purchase seed from Sustain-A-Grain.
How do I get involved?
If you’re interested in purchasing Kernza® seed, learning more about Kernza® production, or partnering in some other way with Sustain-A-Grain, please fill out our contact form and tell us about your operation and level of interest.
Get in touch with us!