drought

PROF. CHRISTOPHER CULLIS / CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY

What if I described a plant that has nutrient-rich beans, protein-rich roots, produces high quality oil, and, grows in desert regions where rural communities desperately need a drought-resistant crop? Sound too good to be true? Maybe not. I’ve just described the wild Marama bean, native to Africa.

“It has never been grown as an organized crop, it’s just collected out of the bush. The idea is can we find ways of developing a set of lines that give you decent yield which we can give to farmers,” Christopher Cullis, professor of biology at Case Western Reserve University, said.

map of Ohio drought conditions on September 13, 2016
NATIONAL DROUGHT MITIGATION CENTER

Almost a fifth of the state is in a moderate drought, and the federal department of agriculture says about half of Ohio is listed as “abnormally dry." And that lack of rain is having a mixed effect on farmland, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer.