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Talkin' Beans
June 17, 2004

News from around the dry bean industry

Bean campaign wins national outdoor advertising award
The Northarvest Bean Growers Association has won a national silver media planning award from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.

The award is based on the media strategy of saturating the entertainment and dining districts in metro areas across the country.

Northarvest was 1 of only 13 winners for this prestigious national award, says Jim Bendt, of Gabriel deGrood  Bendt, Minneapolis. DGB is the advertising agency that helped Northarvest create the "Who's Laughing Now?" campaign.

There are only two national media award shows, so there's a lot of competition out there with big budget media buys, Bendt says.

"It's nice to see your vision and trust to do things differently recognized by a national ad association."

Soybean rust no threat?
The much-dreaded Brazilian soybean rust - a new disease that is cutting soybean yields in Brazil and could soon spread to the U.S. -  could affect dry beans in the U.S, too. But currently, the disease doesn't appear to be a serious threat to dry beans.

"No one in South America is reporting a serious problem with soybean rust on dry beans, although in the greenhouse some classes, such as kidney, have shown to be very susceptible, says Carl Bradley, North Dakota State University (NDSU) extension plant pathologist. He recently attended an international seminar on the topic.

The situation could be different in the field, he says.

One problem is that dry bean varieties that are resistant to known rust races in North America probably wouldn't be resistant to the Brazilian soybean rust. It is a different race.

The good news for dry bean growers is that there are many more fungicides labeled for use on dry beans than for soybeans. Therefore, soybean rust may be easier to control in dry beans than soybeans.

"We already have some products out there that may help control losses in dry beans," Bradley says.

Soybean rust won't likely sneak up on Northarvest. U.S. scientists are watching the disease closely as the wind carries the disease north through Brazil. Soybean will likely appear in the U.S. first in the gulf states before spreading across the South and up the Great Plains, Bradley says.

Health claims for bean foods in the works
You may soon see more health claims being made for dry beans in the future.

The American Dry Bean Board (ADBB) - of which Northarvest Bean Growers Association is a member and a major financial contributor - is seeking authority from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put a phrase on dry bean packages and foods containing beans that says low fat diets rich in dry beans, other legumes and plant foods may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

The ADBB and others in the industry will negotiate the exact wording of the health claim with FDA.

The ADBB has hired Zawel Health Collaborative (ZHC) of Martinsville, New Jersey, to prepare and submit the health claim notification to the FDA. The notification will include a scientific review of the evidence in support of the claim, a descritpion of foods that qualify for the claim, the claim language for use on labels and nurtrient requirements that must be met in order to use the claim.
ZHC currently plans to submit the notification to the FDA in August. The FDA then has 120 days to consider it. If FDA doesn't deny the request, food manufacturers will be able to start using the health claims on advertisements and food packaging.

Stacey Zawel, ZHC president, says she is "very optimistic" that the FDA will allow use of the health claim, which is based on an authoritative statement made by the National Academy of Sciences in their diet and health report. Two companies, General Mills and Kraft Foods, have already successfully used this authoritative statement as the basis of a health claim.

If the notification process goes according to schedule, the health claim may start showing up on dry bean packaging and in advertisements as early as December, Zawel says.

Northarvest teams up with F-M RedHawks
F-M RedHawk baseball fans are going to be "tooting if they like beans" at a game this summer.

The Northarvest Bean Growers Association is sponsoring an event at the the FM RedHawks' Northern League baseball game against the Kansas City T-Bones July 8 at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo, N.D.

The first 1,000 fans in the stadium will receive "Toot If You Like Beans" horns from Northarvest's "Who's Laughing Now?" campaign. There will also be other bean theme promotions throughout the game.

 "The night is all about the beans," says Kristie Schwan, RedHawks promotion manager. She proposed that Northarvest sponsor an event at a game after seeing the "Who's Laughing Now?" campaign in Fargo in November.

"I was so impressed," Schwan says. "I knew the RedHawks could help continue the excitement and I wanted to help Northarvest Bean Growers spread the word about beans and their benefits. I thought we would make great partners. We both seem to enjoy FUN!"

Special ticket rates are available for bean grower groups of 15 or more. You can reserve tickets by calling the RedHawks at (800) 303-6161 or (701) 235-6161 or by visiting the Web site

New management at NDBC

The National Dry Bean Council has new management and address. Here is the contact information:

National Dry Bean Council
70 E. Robbins Rd. (P.O. Box 550)
Grapeview, WA 98546
Tel: (360) 277-0112 (7am-5pm PST)
Fax:  (360) 233-0621

Staff includes:
" Randy Duckworth, executive and international marketing director. Phone: (360) 277-0112. Email:                                                
" Bob Sindt, Government Liaison, 1850 M Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: (202) 466-4500. Email:
" Connie Bradford, Federal Programs Compliance & Reimbursement, 1499 SE 9th Ave. 103, Oak Harbor, WA 98277. Phone: (360) 675-2029 Fax: 360-240-0745. Email:
" Sherry Jennings, Phone: (360) 507-1320 Email:

Michigan checkoff wins
Michigan dry bean producers have approved a referendum to continue the Michigan Bean Commission (MBC). The vote was a 283 for continuing the MBC and 61 against.  Gene VanDriessche, MBC Chairman, says the vote shows the commission is "headed in the right direction with its current activities."


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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: