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Montana Ag Network: Farmers attend "Pulse Days" in Great Falls

Paul Kanning from Flaxville
pulse crops.jpg
Posted at 3:28 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-11 19:31:01-05

GREAT FALLS — Montana and North Dakota continue to lead the nation in overall pulse production. During Pulse Days this week in Great Falls - hosted by the Northern Pulse Growers Association - growers like the Montana Pulse Crop Committee’s vice chairman Paul Kanning from Flaxville were thankful that domestic demand for pulses is increasing while challenges remain on the export front.

“Any time that demand is up and supply is down, you're going to see a move in the market,” said Kanning. “And we’re definitely seeing that right now. We have some great market prices and that's happening for a lot of different reasons. Some of it is pandemic related and some of it is just due to a change in consumer demand and what they're looking for. There's no doubt that younger folks are looking for plant-based protein, and these pulse crops provide a lot of it, and it's getting incorporated into a lot of plant-based crops.”

He says another bright spot for the entire U.S. pulse industry is in the area of research.

“This is one of the great success stories of the pulse industry right now,” said Kanning. “Through various programs at the federal level and the state level and with the checkoff program, our research budget is higher than it's ever been. It's seven times higher than it was just five years ago. There's a lot of great research that's happening and a lot of great collaboration that's happening between researchers at different universities at different sites. It’s fantastic research into breeding, into varieties, into sustainability, into health and nutrition. The research that's going on right now is absolutely phenomenal. Much more than was happening just five years ago.”

The Northern Pulse website provides this overview of pulses:

Pulse - a Latin word meaning thick soup - is used to describe the edible seeds of legumes. Pulse crops grown in North Dakota and Montana include: peas, lentils, chickpeas and favabeans. As pulse acres have continued to expand throughout the region, the idea to develop an organization that encompassed growers from both Montana and North Dakota evolved. Growers in both states face similar issues in the areas of marketing, production and pulse research. A regional organization allows the states to share resources and to be a more effective within the domestic and international pulse industry.

The next big meeting in this region for pulse growers is the Northern Pulse Growers Association’s annual convention January 24-25 in Minot, North Dakota. Click here to visit the website.