Archive for September, 2011

September Celebrates Whole Grains

September 1, 2011

Ohioans are reminded of the positive influence of the state’s grain industry in September as the month is designated as “Whole Grains Month.”

The economical impact of grains production, particularly wheat production, in Ohio is significant — $253 million is generated from this sector each year.

And though everyone is familiar with the nutritional advantages of whole grains, no one really stops to think about the businesses responsible for producing the staple grains that end up in our food.

Ohio Grains Production Facts

  • No. 1 producer of Soft Red Winter Wheat in the U.S.
  • Produced more than 46 million bushels in 2010
  • Home to 12 flour mills
  • Home to 358 grain elevators
  • Wheat yields average 61 bushels per acre

Though much of the Midwest has experienced extreme weather conditions to threaten the viability of its grains production, we’re fortunate in Ohio.

Nine hundred thousand wheat acres were planted the previous fall, an increase from 2010 and 52 million bushels harvested, which is an increase from 46 million bushels in 2010. The health of our wheat crop depended on its location in the state, as the wet spring presented a challenge and added additional disease pressures.
 
Overall, the wheat crop probably turned out better than expected given the difficulties of our historic spring.

So… In recognition of Whole-Grains Month, just why are whole grains so healthy?

Whole-wheat flour is rich in B-vitamins, vitamin E and protein and contains more trace minerals and dietary fiber than white flour. The fiber, like the fiber found in whole-wheat flour, is necessary for the digestive tract to function well.

Whole-wheat bread’s increased nutritional value is related to the whole grain. The whole-grain kernel consists of three parts. The outer layer of the grain is the bran, which has a lot of fiber and protein. Inside the bran is the germ, which is loaded with vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. The endosperm is the starchy area within the whole grain.

For whole-grains recipes ideas for you and your family to try, visit http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org

Also recognizing the nutritional advantages of whole grains, the recently implemented Ohio Senate Bill 210, known as the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children Act, mandates new nutritional guidelines for school lunches that incorporates more whole-grains foods in cafeterias.

As always, we welcome any questions or comments about or related to our work to advance the Ohio grain industry. If you’re interested in joining OCWGA, please contact us.