September 18, 2006
Bean Day 2007
Mark your calendar for Bean Day 2007 set for January 18-19, 2007 at the Holiday Inn in Fargo, ND. More details will be included in future issues of The Bean Grower.
Mayo Clinic: Beans Among Top 10 Healthy Foods
Beans were listed among the ten top picks for healthy foods, in the August issue of Mayo Clinic Womens HealthSource. Small red, pinto and dark red kidney varieties are an excellent low-fat source of antioxidants, protein, dietary fiber and copper. Theyre also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and thiamin. Other foods on the list: apples, almonds, broccoli, blueberries, salmon, spinach, sweet potatoes, wheat germ, and vegetable juice.
No Changes to Corn and Beans in NAFTA
Governments of Mexico and the United States ratified this summer that they will not modify the terms of the North Free Trade Agreement on corn and dry beans, whose tariff liberation is scheduled for January, 2008. Nevertheless, both governments said that they will contemplate changes to their national sugar programs. Mexicos Secretary of Agriculture, Francisco Mayorga, and the USDA Undersecretary, J. B. Penn, said that neither partner has any interest in renegotiating the corn and dry beans provisions of the agreement, but they are beginning discussions of technical collaboration in both grains.
Collaborative initiatives to improve productivity, transfer post-harvest technology and seek opportunities together in third country markets are being considered. Ideas on technical cooperation, research and development, conversions, infrastructure, equipment and programs, might be the start of a permanent agenda in the frame of an agreement or a consultative committee on agriculture between Mexico and the United States.
Mayorga stated that with this technical collaboration, there are some trade projects that could propitiate the specialization of the production of corn types per country. In the United States, yellow corn is a commodity that is part of the professional stock market, and the white corn is a specialty produced by contract. In Mexico it happens exactly the opposite way: white corn is a commodity, and yellow corn is produced only by contract. So there is the potential for each country to specialize in those crops that perform more efficiently.
USDA FAS Mexico: www.fas-la.com/mexico/index1.html
Texas Firm Accused of Selling Regular Beans As Organic
A Texas company that sold regular beans as organic to customers all over the nation has been cited for breaking several federal rules and could face criminal charges, The Dallas Morning News reports. Sel-Cor Bean & Pea, near Lubbock, sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of pinto and garbanzo beans to customers who were told they were organic. But investigators with the Texas Department of Agriculture determined that owner Basilio Coronado sold them regular beans instead. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which enforces organic laws, could issue fines up to $10,000 for violating use of the USDA Organic label. We need to protect the integrity of the organic certification program, not only among organic growers but for the general public, said Texas Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Beverly Boyd. Consumers need to know when they see the organic label they are buying an organic product.
Mighty Little Bean Great Example of Functional Food
The mighty little bean is a great example of a functional food, writes Lenore Greenstein, a Naples, Florida, registered dietician. Functional foods are so named since they have extra health benefits that can function to improve your well being, she wrote recently in the Napa Daily News.
Greenstein writes that there are plenty of reasons why beans are a great example of a functional food: A great source of protein and complex carbohydrates, beans are low in fat and contain zero cholesterol. They are a rich source of the B-vitamin family and are high in fiber, both the soluble and insoluble type. Their high fiber content is an important aid in elimination and gastrointestinal problems. Beans also function to lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol and help to improve blood sugar or glucose levels, thereby helping to control diabetes.
Beans are a complete plant protein, which means they supply all of the essential amino acids necessary for our biological functions. They contain substances called phyto (or plant) chemicals, which have been shown in studies to have anti-cancer activity. Some of the phyto-estrogens are weak plant estrogens, which may help to reduce menopausal symptoms in women and afford protection against certain types of cancer.
Market Development Funding For Canadian Pulses
Chuck Strahl, Canadian Minister of Agriculture, recently announced C$525,800 in funding to assist the international marketing strategy of Canadian pulses (dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas) until the end of March 2008. The federal contribution will be made to Pulse Canada under the Canadian Agriculture and Food International (CAFI) Program, a five-year, C$175 million program implemented by the previous government that is designed to fund activities to reduce and remove trade barriers as well as increase the international competitiveness of Canadian agricultural exports.
Pulse Canada is the national industry association that represents provincial pulse grower groups. The organization will attempt to increase the demand for pulses in new or emerging markets. In addition to annual bilateral trade in pulses exceeding $100 million, U.S. and Canadian pulse growers compete for important pulse markets in India, Spain, the U.K. and China.