USDBC Submits Unified Export Strategy

The U.S. Dry Bean Council (USDBC) submitted the annual Unified Export Strategy (UES) for the 2022 program year to USDA/FAS. The UES is the comprehensive annual global strategy for the U.S. dry bean industry that details the market conditions, constraints, opportunities, activities, and benchmarks in current and emerging export markets.
 
While strategies change from year to year to reflect the current global and market specific realities, the 2022 application underwent a particularly significant rewrite. This is due to a number of global trends, including:
 
  • The lingering impact of COVID and the desire for shelf stable healthy food.
  • Increasing popularity of plant slant and plant based diets.
  • A desire to eat foods that are sustainably produced.
  • A growing interest in bean ingredients such as flours.
  • An optimistic outlook regarding the resolution of long standing tariff disputes that have limited U.S. dry bean exports to certain markets. 
The application also addresses long standing trade policy constraints, such as:
  • The lack of harmonization and missing global tolerances for pesticides (MRLs), ongoing retaliatory tariffs in critical markets.
  • Lack of compliance with existing trade agreements that allow zero duty.
  • Zero quota imports of U.S. dry beans.
  • The need to produce evidence of the U.S. dry bean industry’s sustainable farming practices. 
Funding decisions and allocations will be announced in fall 2021.

Pulse Crop Utilization Course

The Northern Crops Institute (NCI) will be holding a virtual course on pulse crop utilization June 8-17, 2021. This course provides participants with current information surrounding the pulse industry in our four-state region. From production to breeding to health benefits and processing, there will be discussions led by university and industry experts.

Participants will have the chance to view pre-recorded seminars, watch virtual demonstrations of pulse processing, and take in a virtual tour of a pulse processing facility, as well as engage with presenters during 4 live Q&A sessions on June 8th, June 10th, June 15th, and June 17th, each at 7:00 pm (CST).

Get more information at: https://www.northern-crops.com/training-courses.

Pulse Crop Research Proposals Being Sought

The Pulse Crop Health Initiative has announced the opening of its current funding cycle, seeking submissions for research proposals for fiscal year 2021 funding. PCHI is a special project, funded through the Farm Bill, with approximately $4.3 million available in grants for FY 21. Most projects funded are at the level of $60,000 to $100,000 (per institution on a project). 

The goal of PCHI is to rely on research conducted through the various funded projects on pulse crops (dry peas, lentils, chickpeas, and dry beans) to “provide solutions to the critical health and sustainability challenges facing the citizens of the United States and the global community. “

Research should be focused on any/all of the following research areas:

  1. Human Health Improvement & Chronic Disease Prevention
  2. Functionality Traits & Food Security
  3. Sustainability of Pulse Production Systems

The deadline for submitting the application packet is May 14. Plans of work will be reviewed by an independent scientific panel and rankings will be discussed with the Steering Committee before final decisions are made.

For additional contact Michael A. Grusak, Center Director, USDA-ARS Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center at 701-239-1371 or mike.grusak@usda.gov. 

Research Project Seeks Input on Pulse Flours

A new research project out of Michigan State University’s Food Legume Quality Genetics Research Lab is studying the quality of beans and pulses for use as a flour ingredient. 

The survey is directed to food industry professionals who use any type of pulse flour in their products. According to researchers, the objectives are to:

  1. Identify the food industry’s interest and experience with pulse flours.
  2. Improve characteristics of alternative flours made from beans, peas, chickpeas, and others through crop breeding.

Responses are confidential and will not be linked to your name or company in reports. Follow this link to take the survey.

Living Ag in the Classroom Goes Virtual

North Dakota’s Living Ag in the Classroom event didn’t go as planned due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, with the quick thinking of the committee, commodity groups created videos to share with elementary school-aged students throughout the state. Watch the Northarvest Bean Growers Association video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p-deaAVH-4.

Global Plant Forward Conference Recap

The 2021 virtual Global Plant Forward (GPF) conference was attended by Adam Veile and Kaci Vohland from Communique on behalf of Northarvest Bean Growers Association. They also presented at the GPF event on March 30 – April 1, 2021.

The Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit is a joint initiative of the CIA and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition. The summit focuses on cooking and culinary strategy discussions, which are all based on the evidence-based framework of optimal innovation embodied in the 24 Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus of the CIA-Harvard Chan School Menus of Change Initiative. Innovative chefs and masters of traditional cuisines from around the world and across the United States are featured, as well as sector experts from full-service restaurants to contract foodservice. Featured chefs included those whose work is highlighted in the Plant-Forward Global 50, a joint initiative of the CIA and the EAT Foundation, summarized by The Washington Post with its headline, “The World’s 50 Best Places to Eat Your Vegetables.” It includes a strong focus on blended burgers and the Pulses of Change initiative which elevates legumes as a plant protein.

Through the online platform, we were able to attend all general sessions. As a sponsor, Northarvest provided a virtual booth in the Plant-Forward Innovation Hub. Attendees were able to visit our booth 2-3 times each day of the conference. We had a different presentation each day to entice attendees to visit our booth each day. Presentation topics included: Meet a Bean Grower, Beans for Every Lifestyle, and Bean Cost and Sustainability. For Meet a Bean Grower we played a recorded interview between Kaci and Leann Schafer. The other two presentations were done live by Kaci and Adam. We were able to provide attendees with resources including Northarvest and Bean Institute websites.

We were also able to sponsor a pop-up session titled “From Spreads to Stews: Elevating the Everyday Bean” that starred Chef Johnny Graham demonstrating two bean-inspired recipes. We set up a cooking day in advance of the conference to record Chef Johnny preparing the dishes.

As a sponsor for GPF, we were able to provide several pieces of content for attendees as well as receive email addresses for over 900 attendees and sponsors. Our content included a sponsored snack recipe of black bean protein snack bites and three educational material links for the GPF website that attendees can continue to access all year. The links we chose were: https://beaninstitute.com/foodservice/, https://beaninstitute.com/beyond-bean-basics/, and https://beaninstitute.com/recipes/.

Other publicity for beans during the conference included mention of white beans being the next big vegetable, the inclusion of aquafaba rather than whipped cream in a plant-forward cocktails session, and the author of the Cool Beans cookbook being highlighted in a Meet the Author session.  

Final reports from the conference showed over 80 attendees visited our booth, over 70 attended our sponsored pop-up session with Chef Johnny Graham, and nearly 20 attendees clicked our “call to action” button to visit BeanInstitute.com.

GPF 2022 will take place April 5-7 at the CIA at Copia in Napa, CA.

Bush’s Partners with Singer, Songwriter Josh Groban

Today, Bush’s ushers in a new era as That Beautiful Bean Co.™—starting with a much-needed replacement of the notorious bean song (“beans, beans the musical fruit…”) created in partnership with fellow bean-lover Josh Groban. “Bean Song” honors the humble, delicious and nutritious bean in a way only Bush’s can. The song drops at the same time that Bush’s brand evolution, complete with a new look and feel, rolls out nationwide.
 
Groban wrote the original song and stars in the accompanying music video, which flashes back to his childhood and progresses to a celebration of the mighty legume—and even features a cameo from his own dad on the grill.
 
“When Bush’s approached me with the idea to do something fun and musical, my first thought was how wonderfully weird it was. But I like the unexpected. And I love beans,” said Groban. “I had an absolute blast writing and singing this over-the-top song. Eat your beans, kids.”
 
In tandem with the launch of That Beautiful Bean Co. and “Bean Song,” Bush’s has unveiled a new look, website and logo. The tagline, That Beautiful Bean Co., pays homage to the brand’s “Roll That Beautiful Bean Footage” oft-memed catchphrase but contemporizes the concept for a new generation of bean lovers. The celebration of the bean continues this spring with the introduction of Sidekicks—a line of easy meal enhancers that can be used as a best supporting side, flavorful topper or mix-in.
 
“The next phase of Bush’s evolution will focus on elevating the company as a contemporary, fun-loving and playful brand while, of course, maintaining our core value of providing high-quality products— whether it’s our beloved Baked Beans or our newest product, Sidekicks,” said Stephen Palacios, senior vice president of marketing and innovation at Bush Brothers & Co. “At Bush’s, we believe the bean is beautiful and are inspired by the goodness it provides.”
 
In honor of releasing this bean ballad, Bush’s is also donating 250,000 cans of Bush’s Beans to Feeding America® to help spread even more bean goodness. This donation is an extension of Bush’s long-standing partnership with Feeding America, helping to feed people in need.
 
Learn more about Bush’s and “Bean Song” at bushbeans.com.
 
 
(Source: PRNewswire)

Final Change to Register for BeanCon21

Registration for BeanCon21 is officially open. The event is a one-stop-shop for all things dry beans, combining innovative sessions on future trends, harvest and quality updates, live chef demos and one-on-one business networking sessions in a virtual setting.
 
Other topics on the agenda include:
  • Why Beans are the Next Big Thing
  • The U.S. Dry Bean Value Proposition
  • Innovation and Trends Around the World
  • Global Culinary Inspiration
BeanCon21 will take place in three-hour blocks over the course of three days March 2 -4. Days 1 and 2 will feature the one on one meetings that participants will be able to sign up for to conduct private business sessions.
Grady Thorsgard - Harvest (black and pinto)

Dry Bean Harvest Video Released

In fall 2020, the U.S. Dry Bean Council (USDBC) captured footage of dry bean harvest to use it to tell the industry’s story. It also aids in communicating critical production and quality information with international buyers and other key audiences. USDBC partnered with teams from FLM Harvest and Torchwerks to travel around the Midwest. The photo shoots and interviews include farmers, processors and dealers from four states, including both North Dakota and Minnesota.

US Dry Bean 2020 Harvest Presentation from USDBC on Vimeo.

2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Released

The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been released. Covering a five-year time frame, the guidelines, provide science-based advice that promotes health, reduces the risk of chronic disease and meets nutrient needs.
 
“We have taken the very important step to provide nutrition guidance that can help all Americans lead healthier lives by making every bite count,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar added, “The science tells us that good nutrition leads to better health outcomes.”
 
One of the four main recommendations focuses on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages while staying within calorie limits. Those core food groups include: grains, half of which are whole grain; low-fat dairy products; proteins, such as lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, peas and lentils; fruits and vegetables; and oils.
 
Get more information on the 2020-2025 DGAs here.