Montana Pulse Advisory Committee & Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Make Pulse Pitch to Montanans
In agricultural circles pulse crops may be discussed without batting an eye. However, when most Montanans are asked what a pulse crop is they might say, ‘What are pulse crops?’
Pulses are annual leguminous crops such as lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas. After 2016 was declared International Year of Pulses by the United Nations and Montana, again, led the nation in pulse production, the Montana Pulse Advisory Committee & Specialty Crop Block Grant Program are making a pitch to Montana consumers to integrate more pulses into their diet.
“For us, pulse crops have been a welcome addition to rotate with wheat or as an annual crop, but many Montanans don’t know what pulse crops are, that we lead the nation in production, how they have nitrogen-fixing properties good for the soil, and are a nutritious plant-based protein that are part of a healthy diet,” said Pulse Advisory Committee Chair Kim Murray. “We hope that this marketing campaign will introduce more Montanans to the wonderful world of pulses.”
USDA NASS statistics show Montana was the leading producer of both lentils and dry peas, second in Austrian dry peas, and third in chickpea production in 2014. Montana pulses were valued at over $150 million, with nearly $100 million in export sales. More information on Montana pulses, including cooking recipes can be found at http://www.pulse.mt.gov.
“The vast majority of the pulse market is outside the United States. We’ve seen a big increase in hummus consumption domestically, which is made with chickpeas, but we know these nutritional powerhouses have room to grow and can easily be incorporated into a healthy diet,” said Marty Earnheart, marketing officer at the department.
Two commercials will be airing across the state to promote Montana pulses throughout the year. They can also be viewed on the department’s YouTube channel. Partner associations that are supported by the advisory committee like US Dry Pea & Lentil Council and Northern Pulse Growers Association will also be making a pitch for pulses nationally.
The department also plans on incorporating pulse crop information like recipes and cooking tips in their social media pages at http://www.facebook.com/MTAgriculture and http://www.twitter.com/MTAgriculture throughout the year. Official 2016 International Year of Pulses information is available at http://www.fao.org/pulses-2016. Pulse Feast will also be celebrated today as a way to encourage people to eat more pulses.
The Montana Pulse Advisory Committee is comprised of five pulse producers and the department director. The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit agr.mt.gov.