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Chair’s Report (PCN Spring 2016) MAR 29 2016 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Pulse Crop News.

Allison Ammeter, APG Chair

As you hold this spring issue in your hands, your thoughts as farmers are turning to the new cycle of planting, and I believe there are more growers than ever in Alberta either beginning to grow pulses or growing more acres than before.

Part of this is related to the record prices that we have been enjoying, as India has experienced a devastating drought. But a large reason for the increase is that the good messages about how beneficial pulses are for your crop rotation, your soil, and your health are really being heard. Hopefully, we are all becoming more aware that we are not simply growing crops, we are growing food.

We can credit International Year of Pulses 2016 for being a huge communication boost for the industry. The fact that pulses are nutritious, environmentally sustainable, and economical has been received loud and clear by consumers and farmers, and we are only three months into the year! I am very confident that provincially, nationally, and globally, IYP2016 will result in consumers eating more pulses, and producers growing more pulses. As an Alberta pulse farmer, I’m thrilled.

One link in the Alberta pulse chain that I truly believe can increase a lot more is our value-added processing. As Canadian farmers, we’ve always been very good at growing crops, then shipping them somewhere else. In recent years, more and more emphasis has been placed on adding value to our product by processing it here in Alberta. That may be as simple as splitting and bagging, or a more complex procedure such as fractionating our product into protein, starch and fibre, or creating a new food product for the store shelves.

Whatever the process, value-added creates jobs and wealth here in Alberta, and allows us to put a “local” stamp on our food. We do have some great examples of such innovation – how many of you have enjoyed the Mountain Meadows NoNuts Peabutter (I love the cinnamon one), or the CSL’s Crispeas, or made a Souptacular Mulligatawney?

In November, I was able to join a “Food Innovators” tour that was organized by ACIDF (the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund), with a goal of identifying why some countries are so successful at food innovation, and what is holding Alberta back. It was eye-opening, and has only fueled the fire in me to see more value-added processing within Alberta. Read my report on page 15.

One of the Alberta Pulse Growers’ five year goals is to see at least three more secondary value-added processing enterprises, with another being to see more pulse products on Alberta store shelves, with Alberta pulses in them. We are very excited that in honour of IYP, the Food Processing Development Centre (Leduc) and Food Science Technology Centre (Brooks) are partnering with Alberta Pulse Growers to develop innovative product prototypes using pulses and/ or pulse ingredients. Look for more information on that initiative in coming issues of PCN.

The Alberta Mission: ImPULSEible team took its amazing Maple Walnut Gelato (made with white beans) to the Canadian competition in Vancouver in February. See the story on page 32. They are investigating scaling this student-developed creation up to a commercial product, which is innovation at its finest. Again, stay tuned!

Are you an entrepreneur? Do you have a great idea for a new process or new product, and you need some resource people to bounce it off? Whether you need manufacturing, political, or financial contacts, ask us – we will put you in touch with the right people, and help you in any way we can! Alberta Pulse Growers is here to help Alberta farmers GROW MORE PULSES and SELL MORE PULSES.