OTSEGO, MINN. — The Northern Crops Institute will host its first-ever Ancient Grains Conference on July 20 at the Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River, Minn. The event will explore the characteristics and utilization of ancient grains, which refer to grains and in some cases seeds that through millennia have provided food for humans and have had minimal changes to their genetic code by selective breeding, according to the NCI, based in Otsego.

“Ancient grains will be of increasing importance within our Great Plains’ region due to the consuming public’s rapidly growing awareness of the health benefits of ancient grain,” said Neil Doty, business development manager for the NCI and a contributor to the NCI’s “Ancient Grains of the Great Plains Handbook.” “Consumers are also seeking healthy, nutritious products like ancient grains that contribute to regeneration and sustainability of the farm.”

The event will include a health and nutrition panel, a trends and applications panel, an agronomy panel, and a baking demonstration with a hands-on approach. Shrene White, general manager, Emerging Nutrition, Ardent Mills, will be the morning keynote speaker. During the lunch hour Andrew Ross, PhD, a professor in the Crop and Soil Science Department at Oregon State University, will share a presentation on ancient grains in the diet. Jonathan Bethony, head baker and co-owner of Seylou Bakery in Washington, will end the event with a presentation on ways to use ancient grains.

A welcome reception is scheduled for July 19 at the Rockwoods’ event center in Otsego. The early bird registration fee of $195 will be accepted through June 29. After June 29, the standard registration fee will be $250.