High-Nutrition Drought-Tolerant Corn

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $30,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:


  • Agronomic: corn


  • Crop Production: organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Production Systems: permaculture
  • Soil Management: organic matter

    Proposal summary:

    Dave Christensen of Big Timber, Montana, began breeding for a low-input corn 35 years ago. Today he has numerous varieties that produce well in dry western locations, including native grains that produce 105 bushels per acre with minimal irrigation. One variety of his corn was taken to North Korea to re-establish stripped soil in a tough mountain climate. His pigmented black corn variety is said to have 50 percent more antioxidants than blueberries and his Montana Morado Maize has 60 percent more protein than commercial corns.

    This Farmer/Rancher Grant will assist Christensen with the thousands of hand pollinations he does each year and further his next breeding projects to develop freeze-resistant and GMO-resistant corn varieties.

    His technical advisor, Perry Miller, associate professor at Montana State University, will help with outreach efforts to publish results of the trials.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.