In late March, Tim Courneya, executive vice president of the Northarvest Bean Growers Association, based in Frazee, Minn., asked the farmers-directors of his organization how many acres of dry edible beans they intend to plant this spring. Their collective answer, Courneya said, was, “Status quo” — or roughly the same number of acres as they planted in 2018.
So Courneya wasn’t surprised that the annual Prospective Plantings report, released March 29 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, or NASS, projected 2019 U.S. dry bean acreage at 1.237 million, virtually the same as a year ago. “Based on what I’m hearing, the Prospective Plantings number (for 2019 dry bean acres) is spot-on,” Courneya said.
But the 2019 estimate requires some explanation. In the past, chickpeas and dry beans were combined in a single category in the annual NASS estimate — with consolidated dry bean acreage at 2.08 million in 2019. Dry beans, by themselves, accounted for about 1.2 million, Courneya said