Healthy Solutions for Food Barley Uses Course Recap

The Northern Crops Institute hosted their Healthy Solutions for Food Barley Uses again in 2023. This was an online course that presented the healthy aspects of barley to people around the globe who are interested in including barley as an ingredient in their products. This year 25 participants took part in the course, which included 19 from South Korea and 5 from Southeast Asia. These were made up of representatives from 9 food companies in South Korea and 6 food companies in Southeast Asia.

The course was divided into 4 different modules. In Module 1 the participants viewed presentations on:

  • Barley Breeding at North Dakota State University by Dr. Richard Horsley. He covered the history of barley breeding at NDSU, the process of releasing new cultivars acceptable to barley producers in North Dakota and surrounding states, and the industry.
  • Barley Diseases of North Dakota by Dr. Thomas Baldwin, who runs the NDSU Barley Pathology Program. Dr. Baldwin led a discussion on the work being done in the study of barley pathogens and the genetics of Barley resistance.
  • Barley Breeding at Montana State University by Dr. Jamie Sherman. Dr. Sherman led a discussion of the barley breeding program at MSU, variety selection, breeding focus areas, and MSU varieties.
  • Food Barley Bioactives for Health by Dr. Kalidas Shetty. Dr. Shetty talked about phenolic bioactives and oligosaccharides for health benefits from barley.

In Module 2 the participants viewed presentations on:

  • Metabolic Stimulation of Health Relevant Bioactives of Barley by Dr. Dipayan Sarkar. Dr. Sarkar’s presentation focused on the Metabolic-Driven Agronomic and Postharvest Processing Strategies for Improving Food Barley Bioactives for Health.
  • Health and Immunological Benefits of Barley and barley Beta-glucan with Dr. Chris Fastnaught and Dr. Greg Fox. They discussed the healthy aspects of barley from an immunological perspective.
  • Beta-glucan Extract Processing with Tom Jorgens of Polycell Technology. Tom discussed the process of extracting Beta-glucan from barley.
  • Virtual Tour of Montana Milling by Sam Schmidt. Sam is the Procurement Manager & Project Engineer at Montana Milling in Great Falls, MT. They specialize in custom milling, meeting each customers’ special needs and demands.

In Module 3 the participants viewed presentations on:

  • Quality Characteristics for Food Use of Barley by Seth Cox, Director of Product Development and Research at Dakota Specialty Enterprises. Seth talked about barley as a versatile cereal grain with a rich, nutlike flavor. It is recognized as one of the first crops to be domesticated for human consumption.
  • Food Barley Trends – Nationally and Internationally by Neil Doty, Business Development Manager at NCI. Neil makes use of the extensive worldwide database of Mintel when presenting the latest Food Barley trends and new product launches from around the world.
  • Current and Potential Food Barley Markets – Worldwide by Steve Edwardson, Executive Administrator of the North Dakota Barley Council. Steve presented an in-depth review of the current Barley market, along with a look to the potential markets he sees for the future of Barley.

In Module 4 the participants viewed presentations on:

  • Overview of Current U.S. Barley Market: Production Outlook by Steve Edwardson, Executive Administrator of the North Dakota Barley Council. Steve gave an in-depth review of Barley production in the United States.
  • Barley Production in the Upper Midwest with Jade Kessel, the Sales and Marketing Manager for Arrow K Farms of Belfield, ND. With the help of their drone, Jade will provide a bird’s eye view of the entire production year for Barley on her family’s farm near Belfield, ND.
  • Virtual Tour of Midwest Processing Facility with Bob Sinner, President of SB&B Foods, Inc. Bob gave a personal tour of SB&B Foods, Inc.’s newest food-grade processing facility. They also heard about the background of the company and how it grew into a world-class, food-grade business.
  • Shipping and Transport Fundamentals by Bruce Abbe of Abbe Communications & Management Services. Bruce gave a review of the steps necessary to transport your finished product from the processing facility to your place of business, both safely and economically, avoiding the pitfalls along the way.

Two live Q & A sessions were held for the participants at the end of Modules 2 and 4. These sessions gave the participants an opportunity to pose questions with the presenters once they reviewed each module. Discussion on barley being viewed as an ingredient versus a crop commodity was a popular topic among the participants this year.

NCI is already in the process of planning next year’s Healthy Solutions for Food Barley Uses course and will continue to offer it online as it allows for flexibility in participants and presenters schedules. For more information on future barley-related courses, please visit