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Bean Briefs
June 19, 2006

NHB Slates New Board Officers

Gary Paur, Gilby, N.D, was named president of the Northarvest Bean Growers Association this spring.  Jon Ewy, Deer Creek, Minn., was named vice president and Mark Streed, Milan, Minn., was named treasurer.

Also serving on the Northarvest Board are Gary Friskop, Wahpeton, N.D.; Alan Juliuson, Hope, N.D.; Mark Myrdal, Edinburg, N.D.; Todd Sorenson, Fisher, Minn.;
Donald Streifel, Washburn, N.D.; and Daniel Webster, Penn, N.D.















Gary Paur, NHB President

Canada Funds Pulse Innovation Project

The future of the Canadian pulse industry received a boost this spring, thanks to $3.2 million in funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to explore new North American markets for pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas.

The Pulse Innovation Project is intended to create a market-driven action plan for the Canadian pulse industry that will focus on new applications for pulse crops primarily in the area of health and wellness. Pulses are high in fiber and resistant starch, as well as protein, minerals and vitamins. These nutrients offer many benefits for health and chronic disease prevention, including lower cholesterol, improved blood glucose control and weight management.

Contributions to the project include major participation from Pulse Canada and Saskatchewan, and additional support from Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. The Pulse Innovation Project will run until 2008.

Idaho Seed
in Mexican Variety Trials

More than 800 pounds of certified Idaho seed beans were shipped to Mexico this spring for use in variety trials.  The test seed included 16 U.S. dry bean varieties of blacks and pintos to be planted in trials alongside Mexican varieties in Zacatecas and Chihuahua.  The results are expected to show which varieties perform best under different environmental conditions in the two north-central Mexican states. The trials are funded by the Idaho Bean Commission and a USDA Emerging Markets Program grant.

The Idaho Bean Commission has worked hard for the past six years to develop a market for
Idaho bean seed in Mexico, said Brent Zeyer, an IBC board member.  As soon as we determine which varieties suit environmental conditions in Zacatecas and Chihuahua, were confident well ship even more, he said.

A group of bean industry representatives from
Mexico visited Idaho in mid-May, before the test plots are planted in Mexico in early June.  The trade group from Mexico visited bean seed warehouses, the University of Idaho Kimberly Research and Extension Center, and saw  some of the new Idaho dry bean crop planted.  The visit was financed by the IBC, a USDA specialty crop grant and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.  Idaho is a leading producer of seed beans, and ranks fifth in dry edible bean production. (Capital Press)

Peterson: If you get any kind of significant increase  in supply, you will collapse the market price

Jim Wiesemeyer, best known to farmers as Washington consultant for Pro Farmer, and for his column, Inside Washington Today, interviewed Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) this spring.  As ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, Peterson could become panel chairman if the Democrats regain control of the House following Nov. 7 elections.

With the possibility of that happening rising to near the 50% mark, I decided it was time to hear Rep. Petersons positions on a host of important energy, trade and farm policy issues, noted Wiesemeyer, in the preface of his Q&A column with Peterson.  I found Peterson at ease in responding to my questions, and the extended interview actually turned into a conversation  always a good sign of a secure lawmaker dealing with the issues of the day.

Several of Wiesemeyers questions touched on the fruit & vegetable provision, a key issue for dry bean growers.

Doesnt the WTO case mandate changes be made in the planting restrictions regarding: fruits and vegetables? Peterson: They (
U.S. fruit & vegetable industry) havent given in on that, yet.

U.S. fruit and vegetable growers protected by the current farm program language limiting planting on base acres to established growers? Peterson: Yes, but on the other hand, why should somebody with subsidized land be given a preference over somebody else? It cuts both ways.  

Peterson noted that in farm bill hearings, one thing heard consistently is that growers want to maintain the prohibition of planting fruits and vegetables on farm program base acres.  For most specialty crops, potatoes, edible beans, etc., if you get any kind of significant increase in supply, you will collapse the market price. So you have to be careful in this area.

When Wiesemeyer asked if the fruits and vegetables provision might run against a WTO ruling, Peterson replied that there are a lot of things that are going to be mixed up in that area.

The U.S. Dry Bean Council has begun dialogue on issues to be addressed in the next farm bill; see page 17.

Beans Among Superfoods

A Virginia newspaper (Daily Press) recently included beans on the top ten list of superfoods that are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber to help ward off diseases. Dietician Lauren Giddings noted that garbanzo, pinto, black, navy, and kidney beans, as well as lentils, are low fat and rich in protein, iron, folic acid and fiber.  Other superfoods on the dieticians recommended list: blueberries, sweet potatoes, broccoli, yogurt, cantaloupe, spinach, oranges, oatmeal, and soy foods.

Get Your Bean Photo On The Cover, Get Paid for It

Fancy yourself as a photographer? Were looking for dry bean images from across the Northarvest bean growing area, from planting, spraying, and harvest to processing, as well as dry bean plants at various stages. High resolution digitals or slides preferred.  Vertical images (up and down) will be considered for the cover.  If we publish yours on the cover, well pay you for it.  For details, or to submit images, email or


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Northarvest Bean Growers Association | 50072 East Lake Seven Road | Frazee, MN 56544
Ph: 218-334-6351 | Fax: 218-334-6360 | Email: