USDBC Board Meets in Denver

The U.S. Dry Bean Council (USDBC) Board of Directors convened in-person in Denver, Colorado last week after over a year of virtual meetings. The board tackled a comprehensive list of critical association and programmatic issues over the course of one and a half days, including:
  • Legislative priorities
  • Beans in food aid
  • Trade teams and trade shows in 2022
  • Upcoming bean innovation showcase at Worlds of Flavor with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
  • Dues and budgets for the coming year
  • BeanCon22
  • New critical initiatives regarding global MRLs and sustainability
Committee meetings and general sessions discussed several activities planned for the remainder of the year as travel begins to open back up as well as plans for 2022. Global travel for the remainder of 2021 remains limited with ANUGA the only major trade show planned in October. 
Additionally, the board discussed USDBC’s debut participation in the WOF event taking place in Napa Valley in November 2021. This will be a showcase designed to target U.S. and global chefs and introduce them to the various flavor profiles of U.S dry beans and bean ingredients. 
The trade team schedule for 2022 was finalized and applications will be sent out to the industry in the next week. The board also decided to forego an in-person reverse mission during the 2021 dry bean harvest and conduct another global harvest webinar, similar to 2020. 
COVID continues to impact USDBC’s activities and plans but the agenda is busier than ever, and we look forward to a return to in-person events in late 2021 and in 2022.

Northarvest Bean Growers Association Directors Kevin Regan of Devils Lake, North Dakota and Roger Carignan of Cavalier, North Dakota attended the summer meeting. Regan serves as the USDBC secretary/treasurer.

Northarvest Elects New Slate of Officers

The Northarvest Bean Growers Association has elected a new slate of Board of Director officers, as well as U.S. Dry Bean Council directors.

David Dickson of Gilby, North Dakota is the new Northarvest president. Previously, Dickson served as vice president, and also serves on the promotion, legislative, search, scholarship and communication committees. Dickson was first elected to the board in 2013.

Elected as vice president is Thomas Arnold of Appleton, Minnesota. Arnold serves on the Northarvest legislative, research and crop insurance committees. He was first elected to the board in 2014.

Eric Samuelson of Crookston, Minnesota was elected was the Northarvest treasurer. Samuelson was first elected to the board in 2015 and serves on the legislative and crop insurance committees.

Serving as the USDBC director is Kevin Regan of Webster, North Dakota. Regan was first elected in 2015, and with this assignment will represent the two-state region of Northarvest.

Roger Carignan of Cavalier, North Dakota is the USDBC alternate director, representing the two-state region of Northarvest. Carignan is currently the vice chair of the North Dakota Dry Bean Council and was first elected to the Council in 2013.

USDBC Welcomes Overseas Representatives

As the U.S. Dry Bean Council prepares for the implementation of USDA’s Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, the council is excited to announce new talent to help expand 2019 outreach.
  • Xu Fang has been named USDBC’s new contractor for China planting and production analysis and will also be keeping an eye on China’s potential to become a net dry bean importer. Xu is currently president and CEO of WG Consulting, a Shanghai-based consulting firm specializing marketing and market access for various agricultural products and services.
  • Thoric Cederstrom is representing USDBC’s food assistance and food security initiatives as the new food aid consultant. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Thoric is an expert in sustainable agriculture and food security, primarily in environments that include conflict and post conflict situations.
  • Alejandro Leloir will be the new Regional Representative for the Americas. Alejandro is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina with a degree in agronomy. He currently resides in San Jose Costa Rica.
  • Jose Barrios joined USDBC as a public relations and program specialist specifically for new marketing activities in Colombia under the ATP program. He will be organizing at least five different marketing events throughout Colombia.
USDBC Regional Representative for the Americas region Dario Bard will depart at the end of April.

Black Bean Prices in Brazil Pull Upward

Sao Paulo wholesale carioca bean prices in February were as high as $1,713 per metric ton, double the price in January. The price spike was due to reduced first crop production and weather‐induced crop damage.

Prices reported the first week of March at the Sao Paulo bolsinha were lower, carioca especial (above commercial grade) averaged $1,370/MT, but there is very limited availability. Consumers are reportedly buying second‐rate cariocas or switching to alternatives like black beans. Black bean prices were therefore pulled upward.

Sao Paulo wholesale prices climbed from $844/MT in January to $1,112/MT in February—the first of March average price was $870/MT. At the end of March, the first beans from the second harvest in southern states start to enter the market, but May is the peak.

Marcel Lüders, head of IBRAFE, notes that right now there are not enough beans to meet consumer demand. The U.S. Dry Bean Council ANUFOOD trade mission team is in Brazil this week and will give an update on the market outlook late next week.

Beans in Food Aid for 2019

Dry bean tonnage in U.S. government food aid programs picked up significantly at the end of 2018, logged as the first quarter of fiscal year 2019. FSA call forwards for the first quarter of FY19 show over 10,000 MT of dry beans going into USDA school feeding programs in various countries and into USAID’s emergency response to the ongoing crisis in Yemen. Four different types of dry beans were used in the programs recorded to date. A small tender for emergency response to Venezuela shipped via Colombia was issued last week.

The U.S. Dry Bean Council will be bringing a new food aid consultant on board shortly, and anticipate efforts to promote continued use of dry beans in food aid programs will pick up this month. In 2019, the USDBC will also be working to determine:

  • The food aid pipeline for Yemen
  • Plans for additional call forwards for beans
  • The need for emergency response to unrest and food insecurity in Venezuela and Haiti
  • Improved ability to respond to bean tenders for Guatemala
  • The potential for beans and bean ingredients for nutrition in East Africa as a follow up to the recent trade mission to Tanzania.


(Source: U.S. Dry Bean Council)

USDBC to Study Cuba Market Opportunities in 2019

For the first time, the 2018 Farm Bill allows for the use of USDA Foreign Agricultural Service market promotion funding to conduct export development activities in Cuba. In the past, U.S. agricultural trade organizations have used private funding to promote trade with Cuba.

Despite the fact that many financial and banking restrictions remain in place, this is a win for U.S. agricultural trade. The U.S. Dry Bean Council will conduct an initial market scoping exercise in the second quarter of 2010, with the goal to put together a trade mission to the island in late 2019 or early 2020.

(Source: U.S. Dry Bean Council)

Funding Will Help USDBC Reach New Markets

Support from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has helped the U.S. Dry Bean Council to surpass historical export development funding levels, receiving over $3 million through various funding mechanisms for the 2019 program year. This includes the Market Access Program (MAP), Foreign Market Development (FMD), the Emerging Markets Program (EMP), the Global Broad-Based Initiatives (GBI) program and the newly created Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program.
Deon Maasjo, of Kelley Bean Company in Oakes, North Dakota and President of USDBC pointed out that, “We are especially excited for new opportunities provided in the ATP, which we have designed to be innovative and exploratory. Twenty-nineteen and 2020 will see several new events that we would not be able to conduct without this support.”
For more information please contact the US Dry Bean Council. Read the full news release.