Newswise — September 20, 2016, 2016—Worldwide, humans depend on about five to six crops – corn, soy, wheat, rice, potato and cassava – for consumption. But, the need for more diversity in diets and crops is being addressed by the medical community and scientists.

The “Novel and Ancient Crops: Small in Acreage, Large in Value” symposium planned at the Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, will address this important topic. The symposium will be held Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 10:15 AM. The meeting is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

According to Vikas Belamkar, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “people are starting to become more health and diet conscious. Currently, five to six crops make up most of what is grown in the world, and about 20 crops are used as edible crops. This is rapidly changing because of interest in new diets. It’s also impacted by changes in the weather, which is forcing the scientific community to look into novel crops. In general novel/underutilized crops have several beneficial characteristics such as increased resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, nutritional benefits, etc.” Belamkar will be presenting research on Apios americana (potato bean), which he did as a graduate student with Steven Cannon at Iowa State University/USDA-ARS. Apios is a legume used by Native Americans that is high in protein, and can be grown as a perennial crop.

Kevin Murphy, Washington State University, will present “Quinoa Cultivation in Western North America: Lessons Learned and the Path Forward”. According to Murphy, quinoa is a “relatively new crop to farmers in North America. His presentation will review research from five western United States universities. “Abiotic stresses including excessive salinity, drought, harvest precipitation, and heat each play a critical role in defining the potential marginal and optimal geographic regions for quinoa production,” says Murphy.

For more information about the Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance 2016 meeting, visit Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Oct. 26, 2016 is required. Visit for registration information. For information about the “Novel and Ancient Crops: Small in Acreage, Large in Value” symposium, visit

To speak with one of the scientists, contact Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091, to arrange an interview.