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Dry Bean Alternative: Beans Can Be Profitable

Ontario dry bean producers are in a quandary in early January 2021. Their problem is summed up by a message on a sign in front on Ondrejicka’s Elevator near Exeter, Ontario. It says, ‘with IP (Identity Preserved) soybeans at these levels (prices), why would you grow edible beans?’
 
“It’s a fair question,” says Mike Donnelly-Vanderloo, chairman of Ontario Bean Growers in Thamesford, Ontario. “It’s certainly the one everyone is talking about. I’ve had numerous dealers ask me, ‘what will it take to keep good growers continuing to grow beans?’”
 
Globally, dry bean consumption has been increasing by 5 percent a year between 2014 and 2019. They’re considered a great source of plant protein and attract a lot of consumers interested in gluten-free and vegan diets. The increasing level of interest in using bean flour by the food processing sector is also a factor.
 
“They are a high value crop most years,” Donnelly-Vanderloo says. “But they take a lot more effort to grow than soybeans and the input costs are significantly higher. So, there’s no way you would go to all the extra trouble if there isn’t going to be the returns at the end of the road to make it worthwhile.”
 
Read more in this John Deere article.

U.S. Imposes Tariffs, Canada Retaliates

 
The Trump Administration has placed tariffs on certain types of aluminum from Canada. This decision comes about a month after the implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the tariffs are “unwarranted and unacceptable.” The Canadian government plans to impose $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. Over the next 30 days, the country will determine what U.S. products will face the tariffs. There are no agriculture commodities on the preliminary list. Agricultural interests are monitoring this skirmish for possible trade retaliation.

Dry Bean Scene

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. This action is receiving praise from the dry bean industry. Learn more in this week’s Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.

USMCA Deal Reached

The United States, Mexico and Canada reached a deal on tweaks in labor and steel and aluminum provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. “There’s no question this trade agreement is much better than the North American Free Trade Agreement, but in terms of our work here it’s infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “It’s a victory for America’s workers and one I take pride in advancing.”
 
Mexico’s Senate has approved the changes made to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. On a 107 to 1 vote, Mexico is the first country to ratify the modified trade deal. Now, the USMCA needs approval from U.S. and Canadian lawmakers. The trade deal could come to the U.S. House floor next week for ratification.

Canadian Dry Bean Production Increases

Statistics Canada released their July production estimates of principal field crops report. For 2019, dry bean production is expected to increase 7.8 percent to 368,000 tonnes. That’s compared to 341,000 tonnes in 2018. Chickpea production is estimated at 251,000 tonnes, down 19.3 percent from last year. A 13.9 percent increase is expected for lentils, and a 26.5 percent increase is projected for dry field peas.

View the Canadian Production Report

Mexico Approves the USMCA

On Wednesday, the Mexico Senate approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by a vote of 114 to 4. Mexico is the first of three countries to ratify the trade deal. Now, all eyes are on Canada and the U.S. to approve the agreement. An implementation bill has been introduced in the Canadian Parliament. Earlier this week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Democratic concerns with labor and environmental provisions in the USMCA can “be sorted out quickly.”

Dry Conditions Linger in the Canadian Prairies

A substantial part of the Canadian Prairies remains dry, as near drought conditions linger. Glacier Farm Media Director of Markets and Weather Bruce Burnett says some areas of the western prairies are in their third year of limited moisture. “We had a dry winter with drought conditions last fall in the southern two-thirds of the prairies. We’ve had virtually no soil moisture recharge in the past two years,” says Burnett.

Timely rains are needed to sustain the crop. “To get an average crop this year, we need frequent rains. We haven’t seen that yet this growing season. If we remain dry through June, there will be a lot of stress to crops and the yield potential will drop significantly.”

Steel and Aluminum Tariffs a “Hurdle” in USMCA Chats

Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Gregg Doud confirmed Tuesday that steel and aluminum tariffs are a big hurdle in the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement discussions. “I can tell you there’s not a day that goes by at USTR someone isn’t having a conversation with Canada and Mexico to figure out how to sort this out,” says Doud.

“This is an enormous priority for us. It’s been challenging and it’s taken more time than I think we would have liked in regards to the new administration in Mexico. The election process is evolving in the U.S. and Canada, which makes things challenging as well.”
 

Canada Dry Bean Acres Projected to Decrease

Statistics Canada released the March preliminary plantings report this past Wednesday. For 2019, dry bean acres are expected to decrease 8.1 percent to 325,000 acres. That’s compared to 353,000 in 2018. Acreage for chickpeas is pegged at 334,000, down 24.5 percent from 443,000 in 2018. Lentils are also anticipated to drop by 9.6 percent to 3.4 million acres, compared to 3.7 million the previous year. A 11.6 percent increase in dry field peas is expected in 2019 to 4.0 million acres. That’s compared to 3.6 million in 2018.