An Update from the MN Special Legislative Session

The Minnesota Legislature has until the end of the month to finalize the budget. The agriculture and transportation bills have passed both chambers and are awaiting the governor’s signature. The Senate passed the environment bill Tuesday night and the House will take it up later today. Lawmakers must finish the state budget before June 30 to avoid a government shutdown.

Drought Townhalls Held

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring hosted town hall meetings Wednesday and Thursday. During the meeting, farmers, ranchers and other area residents in the Washburn, Rugby and Medora areas discussed the challenges created by extreme drought conditions. Leadership reviewed the state’s response and answered questions. More than two-thirds of North Dakota is in extreme or exceptional drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.
The meetings were livestreamed on the governor’s Facebook page at For information on drought relief resources, visit

WHIP+ and QLA Payments to Begin

More than $1 billion in payments will be released over the next several weeks for agricultural producers with approved applications for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program and for producers who have already received payments through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). These USDA programs provide disaster assistance to producers who suffered losses to 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.

USDA Publishes CFAP 2 Videos

UDSA has published a series of videos to assist with the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) application process. Dry edible beans are fall under the Sales Commodities category of CFAP 2. Farmers who have not already applied for CFAP 2 can do so through their county Farm Service Agency office.

New Global Maximum Residue Limit Initiative

Last week, the U.S. Dry Bean Council (USDBC) began work on a new initiative to tackle the global challenges of low or zero tolerance levels on pesticides/herbicides by launching the Crop Protection Action Coalition for Trade (CPACT). CPACT is funded through the USDA/FAS’ Global Broad-Based Initiatives (GBI) program, as it is a USDBC led coalition of like-minded agricultural trade organizations that also includes the U.S. Dry Pea and Lentil Council and USA Rice. 

CPACT will work in tandem with U.S. government efforts to address the challenges of low or zero-tolerance Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs). The objective of this work is to ensure that MRLs are based on sound science and not hazard-based systems, nor rely on the use of the precautionary principle. Hazard and precautionary principle-based systems are prohibitive and tend to be guided more by consumer advocacy than science.

CPACT will work in tandem with global U.S. government initiatives to negotiate reasonable tolerances and will also carve out its own private sector agenda. USDBC has retained the services of the North Hill Group to assist in the implementation of this project.

Earlier this week, project principles met to begin discussions on how this public/private partnership will be implemented, review upcoming global meetings with counterparts and discuss the ramp-up period that will likely take the next few months. A meeting with private sector participants will be scheduled over the next month and a CPACT website tracking issues and events will launch in the coming weeks.

“America the Beautiful” Initiative Revealed

On Thursday, the Biden-Harris administration outlined a vision for how the United States can work collaboratively to conserve and restore the lands, waters and wildlife that support and sustain the nation. The report outlines a locally led and voluntary nationwide conservation goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
“This report is only the starting point on the path to fulfilling the conservation vision that President Biden has outlined,” says the report. “Where this path leads over the next decade will be determined not by our agencies, but by the ideas and leadership of local communities. It is our job to listen, learn, and provide support along the way to help strengthen economies and pass on healthy lands, waters, and wildlife to the generations to come.”
View the report.

North Hill Group to Lead USDBC Work on Global MRLs

The U.S. Dry Bean Council (USDBC) has retained the services of North Hill Group to conduct a newly funded project, the Crop Protection Action Coalition for Trade (CPACT), to determine how to best engage and formulate a subsequent action plan to address the ongoing threat of prohibitive Maximum Reside Levels (MRLs). 
MRLs are the residue limits for pesticides/herbicides that are set on agricultural imports around the world. In the last years, countries have increasingly moved away from agreed-upon tolerance levels set in CODEX and have begun to issue low or zero tolerances, for many commonly used pesticides/herbicides. 
As each country/region sets its own tolerance level, U.S. export-focused industries, like the dry bean industry, are faced with a never-ending web of prohibitive and seemingly non-science-based MRLs that are difficult or impossible to meet. Eventually, this can become a major disruption to global agricultural trade.
USDBC’s CPACT project will lead a coalition of agricultural trade groups that will serve as the U.S. government’s private sector counterpart through dialogue, meetings, scientific exchange and negotiations. The work is geared to reach an agreement on reasonable and science-based tolerances for MRLs to avoid global trade disruption.
The U.S. Dry Pea and Lentil Council and USA Rice are also members of this coalition, and we anticipate other agricultural trade groups will join the effort as well. CPACT will officially begin its work after a May meeting of the principals. We will keep the industry informed and engaged as the work plan becomes more concrete.

Northarvest Requests Fair Market Access for U.S. Dry Beans

FARGO, N.D. – In March, the U.S. Dry Bean Council (USDBC) sent letters to the honorable U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to encourage fair market access of U.S. Dry Beans to Europe and the United Kingdom.

The dry bean industry is asking for relief around the 25% retaliatory tariffs that have been placed on U.S. dry bean exports to the EU and the UK in response to Section 232 Steel and Aluminum tariffs that were applied by the U.S.
This tariff is a direct hit on the U.S. dry bean exports across the Atlantic, with tariffs potentially increasing as of June 1. The Northarvest Bean Growers Association’s concern is the rapidness of this deadline and the possibility of increasing tariffs locking the U.S. out of these two markets.
The EU and UK market was expected to grow 2-4% per year until 2023. This increase is driven by European consumer’s interest in plant-based proteins. The UK is the largest importer of canned beans at 23% share of the European market.
The Northarvest region, covering North Dakota and Minnesota, accounts for 65% of dry bean planted acreage in the United States in 2021. Europe is the largest market for canned beans in the world accounting for 50% of the worlds’ imports. It goes without saying that the impact these tariffs have on the U.S. dry bean economy are unwelcome.
In efforts to urge regional legislators to support the reversal or mitigation of these tariffs, Northarvest has reached out to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN), Sen. Tina Smith (MN), Sen. John Hoeven (ND), Sen. Kevin Cramer (ND), Rep. Kelly Armstrong (ND), Rep. Jim Hagedorn (MN), Rep. Angie Craig (MN), Rep. Dean Phillips (MN), Rep. Betty McCollum (MN), Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN), Rep. Tom Emmer (MN), Rep. Michelle Fischbach (MN) and Rep. Pete Stauber (MN). 
Legislators are concerned for growers and committed to raising concern. Northarvest would like to thank Federal legislators from North Dakota and Minnesota for their strong support in overcoming trade politics.
“It’s important for growers to reach out and share their concerns regarding the tariffs,” said Kevin Regan, USDBC and Northarvest member. “Through collaborative efforts with legislators, I’m confident we can minimize the fallout over this detrimental block.”
With the encouraging positive advocacy from key legislators, Northarvest asks growers to contact your local representatives and voice support in addressing the EU and UK 25% retaliatory tariffs on exported dry beans.

Dry Bean Scene

Questions have been circulating on whether or not dry bean producers are eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments. Tom Hance of Gordly Associates has that answer in the latest Dry Bean Scene on the Red River Farm Network, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.

Dry Bean Growers Do Qualify for Government Assistance

Questions have been circulating on whether or not dry bean producers are eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments. According to Tom Hance with Gordly Associates, the answer is yes. Dry edible beans are fall under the Sales Commodities category of CFAP 2.
“Dry beans are included in CFAP 2,” said Hance. “Growers are able to amend and increase this payment if they received a crop insurance indemnity or WHIP+ payment for 2019 production. Those producers can also have their CFAP 2 payment calculated using their 2018 sales.”
Famers who have not already applied for CFAP 2 can do so through their county Farm Service Agency office.
In addition, USDA has set aside $6 billion for the Pandemic Assistance for Producers program. This is another opportunity for compensation to dry bean producers, said Hance in a Red River Farm Network interview.
“There are a list of entities that will possibly be included in this $6 billion. The specialty crops in the sales commodity category, including dry beans, are among those that could potentially be included.”
Hance stresses that this decision is subject to rulemaking, so it will be several months before it will be known how the funds are distributed.