ETTRICK, Va.—About three dozen people attended the seminar Exploring the Potential Use of Teff as an Alternative Grain Crop in Virginia recently at Virginia College of Agriculture at Virginia State University or virtually.
This annual, warm-season grain has been a staple of Ethiopia since ancient times. Demand in the U.S. is increasing due to its nutritional value as both food for humans and forage for livestock, but can it be grown in Virginia?
“Yes,” said Dr. A. Ozzie Abaye, professor, at the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “It can be grown successfully in Virginia based on field tests in Blacksburg and Shenandoah Valley.” Abaye noted that laboratory tests to determine baking characteristics and chemical composition of teff indicate it is best used for baking cookies and biscuits.
Teff could have a huge impact on consumers, producers and the Virginia economy. It is a great source of protein, iron and other nutrients, and grows well in Virginia. While describing test results, Abaye also answered audience questions throughout her presentation.
“While teff is a promising crop for Virginia, additional research is needed to address the establishment, harvesting, threshing and processing of the grain,” said Dr. Wondi Mersie, associate dean and director of research at Virginia State University College of Agriculture.
For more information about this and other STEAM-H topics, contact Dr. Wondi Mersie at 804-524-5631 or WMersie@vsu.edu.
–Michelle Burchett, Virginia State University