January 09, 2004
Last year, we figured the acreage of dry beans would be down due to an oversupply. We were right. Actual acreage for Northarvest was down about 17%. Nationwide, dry bean acreage was down 19%.
Lower production did stabilize prices, but stable prices are not good enough. The Northarvest board is working hard to improve our market, while at the same time improving yields and lowering our cost of production.
We hosted the first-ever U.S. Grower Summit, which brought together producers from seven states. We discussed Roundup labeling research, chemical harmonization proposals, price-later contract impacts on markets, mislabeling of dry beans and several other topics.
Cuba is still a growing market and Northarvest is still on the forefront of developments coming from that nation. It is interesting to note that our sales have gone from a container last July to the latest sale of more than 66,000 cwt. of pinto beans from Montana.
Research has been an on-going process, with many projects in their second or third year. The issue of pre-harvest Roundup hasnt changed from last year. However, our research dollars contributed to the discovery of an alternative chemical that may be just what both our growers and our markets will accept.
Our promotion committee took the largest step this year with the hiring of new advertising agency. We successfully launched a new campaign called, Whos Laughing Now? on Nov. 3 in Fargo with North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, the mayors from Fargo and West Fargo, N.D., and the press in attendance.
This campaign will stress the health benefits of dry beans, catching attention with a little humor in the mix. We have had very positive feedback on the campaign and we hope increased domestic consumption will be the net result.
It is my belief that Northarvest will continue to find solutions to the challenges facing the dry beans industry and will do it in a way that will make us all proud.
Northarvest Bean Growers Association
The Northarvest Bean Growers Association is an association of growers representing growers through the check-off system. We are North AmericaÕs largest supplier of quality dry beans. We work together to better the industry through promotion, research, market development, education of consumers and monitoring of governmental policy. Our future goals must be continued market exposure and careful monitoring of new ideas, consumer choices, and producer needs.