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Bean Briefs
June 21, 2007

Northarvest to form bean health advisory council

Northarvest is in the formative stages of establishing a Scientific Advisory Council, a body of experts that would advise the association on health benefits of dry edible beans and recommend further research into the benefits of increased bean consumption.   The Association would benefit from this effort by improving its health communications leading to FDA-approved statements regarding edible beans, aiding consumers in making healthier choices to include edible beans in their daily foods.  The effort is designed to be a two state cooperative project, involving both North Dakota and Minnesota.  The state of N.D., under the federal subsidized Specialty Crop Grant process, has approved nearly $20,000 for the project, and similar funding from Minnesota is anticipated.  Upon full funding, the project is expected to get underway later this year.

Kandel named NDSU extension agronomist

Hans Kandel has been named extension agronomist at North Dakota State University, replacing Duane Berglund, who recently retired.  Like Berglund, broadleaf crops will be Kandels primary outreach emphasis.  Kandel is well known in his previous position as University of Minnesota regional extension educator in northwest Minnesota.  Kandels email:

, MN
, ND Councils set leadership

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

Tim Smith, Walhalla, has been reelected director representing District 1 (Towner, Cavalier,
Pembina Counties) of the N.D. Dry Bean Council.  Jason Mewes, Colgate, was elected to the board of directors representing District 4 (Griggs, Steele, Traill), replacing Mike Beltz, Hillsboro.

Paul Johanning, Park Rapids, has been elected to the board of the Minnesota Dry Bean Research and Promotion Council, representing Area 2 (north central and northeastern
Minn).  He replaces Mike Beelner, Menahga.

Markell new NDSU extension plant pathologist

Sam Markell is the new NDSU extension plant pathologist, replacing Carl Bradley who left last year for his native Illinois.  Markell will focus his outreach efforts on broadleaf crops.  Markell is a Minnesota native, who did his undergraduate work at NDSU (where he was also an offensive lineman for the Bison). He received his Ph.D. in plant pathology at the University of Arkansas.  His email address is

NDSU hires pulse/bean pathologist

Rubella Goswami has been hired assistant professor of plant pathology at NDSU, focusing on pulse and bean research.  She earned her BS degree at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, India; MS at the University of Nottingham, UK; and Ph.D. from the Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota. Her background in plant pathology includes experience in molecular biology as well as plant tissue culture and transformation.

Concerned Cuban Leader: Can you produce ethanol from beans?

During a trade mission to Cuba this spring led by Nebraskas governor and including over two dozen agribusiness representatives from Nebraska, ethanol came up during a discussion.  Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban Peoples Congress, and widely regarded as the number three man in the country, had heard about Nebraskas booming ethanol industry, and wanted to make sure Nebraska couldnt use dry edible beans to make the renewable fuel. There is concern, since beans are a staple part of the Cuban diet.  I just asked him (Neb. Gov. Dave Heineman) a very specific and direct question: Can you produce ethanol from beans? explained Alarcon. And I was happy to learn, so far, thats impossible.  Nebraska is the top producer of Great Northern beans in the U.S. (reported by Peter Shinn, of the Brownfield Network)

Beans for batting practice

In a Newsday (New York) article at Mothers Day, Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca related the pain of losing his mother and biggest fan, Luci Lo Duca, to ovarian cancer in 1996, two years before he made it to the big leagues.  The Lo Ducas lived in Phoenix, where baseball is played year round, Newsdays Barbara Barker writes, and Luci constantly was reading and talking to people about ways to help her sons excel. Her most brilliant drill involved pinto beans.

Barker writes that Luci got the idea that if her sons could learn to hit tiny, irregularly shaped beans, making contact with a regulation baseball would be a cinch. The only downside was that the beans were hard and stung her when Paul hit them back. Luci eventually solved the problem by wearing oversized sunglasses and an old fur coat for protection, which had to be quite a sight in the
Arizona desert.

Psychology Today: Beans a good source of brain-boosting copper

Psychology Today pointed out in its April issue that pinto beans dont just make a delicious seven-layer dip  they may be good for your brain, too. According to new USDA research, store-bought pinto beans are a good source of dietary copper, with a cup providing almost 20% of your daily needs. The nutrient is known to be important for transporting oxygen in blood, and findings from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggest copper might also play a role in learning and memory. Scientists found that copper is partly responsible for controlling the strength of connections between neurons. These findings bolster previous research showing that copper deficiency can impair brain development and function, and may also be associated with the development of Alzheimers disease. (Lydia Fong/Psychology Today)

USDBC urges Congress to maintain food aid

USDBC president Cindy Brown, who grows and processes edibles with her family near Menomonie, Wis., recently testified before the Senate Ag Appropriations Committee, urging lawmakers to maintain the current system of international food aid, rather than convert it to a cash-based assistance program.

My purpose in testifying is to strongly support continuation of time tested and effective in-kind U.S. produced commodity donations; to strongly oppose the ill-conceived proposals that would diminish our present programs by transferring scarce program funds for the purpose of overseas commodity purchasing; to strongly support maintaining the structure and delivery of our existing food aid programs; and to ask that they be funded at levels, which, at a minimum, will maintain historical tonnage volumes, she said.

Brown testified that some (such as U.S. export competitors) want the U.S. to move away from in-kind food aid donations, alleging that in-kind food aid is inefficient and can lead to wasted food aid resources.  However, she pointed to an analysis by Joel Toppen of
Hope College (Michigan) which suggests that a policy shift could in fact result in fewer food aid dollars  that politically, there is more support for direct food aid rather than a cash handout.

In-kind commodity donations have been at the core of
U.S. food aid programs since their inception, she said, a win-win for both American growers and much of the worlds hungry, as well as victims of natural disasters and other emergency situations.

Annual commodity availability determinations by USDA and in-country determinations to avoid commercial displacement ensure that little, if any, commercial market impact occurs due to the use of U.S. grown and processed agricultural products for in-kind humanitarian donation, Brown testified.  Farmers, processors, shippers, and the taxpaying public have long strongly supported the
U.S. being the leader in international humanitarian food aid, in large part because of the visibility of our in-kind donations.

USDBC Approves New Promotional Logos

The U.S. Dry Bean Council Board of Directors in May approved new logos for use in domestic and international promotion efforts.  The logos were developed by a subcommittee of Health and Promotions Committee and International Programs Committee members.

Old Logo


New Logos


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Northarvest Bean Growers Association | 50072 East Lake Seven Road | Frazee, MN 56544
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