Amber Waves Of Emmer Wheat?

RUGBY, N.D. — One of the world’s oldest crops may be finding new life after a century of obscurity.

Emmer wheat, which dates to prehistoric times, once was popular on parts of the Northern Plains. But the crop became little more than a historical footnote after the arrival of new, better-yielding wheat varieties in the early 20th century.

Now, health benefits associated with emmer — particularly its potential value to people with gluten intolerance — could lead to a resurgence of the crop, at least among farmers in arid climates, emmer advocates say.

“I’m not saying it will fit into a lot of (farmers’) production models. But I think it’s a crop that some farmers should take a look at,” says Blaine Schmaltz, a Rugby, N.D., farmer.

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