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President’s Report (Winter 2013) JAN 1 2013 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Pulse Crop News.

Gerry Good, APG President

All good things must come to an end.

For the past six years, I have been privileged not only to represent Zone 2 as a Commissioner on the Alberta Pulse Growers Provincial Board but also to act as President of the Board for the past three years. As my term on the Board comes to an end, I am reminded of the wonderful experiences I’ve had and the great people I’ve met through my involvement with Alberta Pulse Growers.

I joined the Commission six years ago because I believe in the potential of pulses. The peas we grow on our operation – and, to a lesser degree, the lentils we’ve tried – have fit beautifully in our rotation. Reduced input costs and improved soil tilth are often mentioned as the main benefits of growing pulses, but one thing often gets overlooked: profitability.

The fact is no one would grow pulses if they weren’t profitable to some degree. We saw strong prices for peas this past year, even for those that didn’t make human grade. And while demand for lentils has dropped, international market demand for Canadian pulses in general continues to grow, specifically for established Alberta pulse crops like peas and beans. Year after year, we’ve seen on our farm that there’s money to be made growing pulses.

We also saw some exciting work being done on emerging pulse crop types – specifically fababeans and soybeans – over the past year. Though our acres for fabas and soybeans are limited right now, we saw good yield, good quality, and good prices for these relative newcomers. As we work to increase the markets for Alberta-grown fababeans and soybeans, I expect that profitability will be a driving force behind growers trying these crops in their rotations. Increased markets for these crops will only benefit pulse producers, as our industry continues to grow and change to adapt to the changing world in which we work.

As a member of the Alberta Pulse Growers Board, I’ve seen first-hand how the industry has grown and changed over the past half-dozen years. My role took me as far as China on a trade mission back in 2009 (a definite perk of being involved with the Board), but most of my work has been done here at home, building relationships with partner organizations, government officials, and growers themselves. Though challenging at times, working with the Commission has been rewarding beyond description, and I look forward to continuing my Zone 2 involvement as an Advisor.

With my departure from the Board, along with the departure of Zone 2 Commissioner Barry Grabo, Zone 2 was in need of two new Commissioners. At our Zone AGM back in November, the zone elected by acclamation two new Commissioners to represent the zone at the Board level: Allison Ammeter and Douglas Sell. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know both Allison and Doug through their involvement with the zone and the organization, and I know that these two new Commissioners will serve Alberta Pulse Growers well, both here in Alberta and wherever their participation in APG may take them.

Though the advisor and Commissioner elections were completed in November and December, we soon will have two other positions to fill on our Board: those of Commissioners-at-Large. At our upcoming Provincial Annual General Meeting on January 30, 2013, our members will elect one bean grower and one non-bean grower as Commissionersat-Large for a one-year term. We hope that members interested in environmental policy, communications, education, governance, or culinary arts will consider throwing their name into the hat for these integral roles.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone I’ve worked with during my term on the Alberta Pulse Growers’ Board. Our shared experiences and efforts on behalf of the pulse industry have left a lasting mark on me, and with your continued work and support, I have no doubt the industry is in good hands.