Chair’s Report (PCN Spring 2017) MAR 28 2017 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News
This article appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Pulse Crop News.
D’Arcy Hilgartner, APG Chair
I am looking forward to leading the Alberta Pulse Growers as we build on the excitement for pulses that was kicked into high gear with International Year of Pulses (IYP) in 2016.
We had a fabulous year with IYP and we plan to carry on with that momentum with more investment in research and marketing. This includes working with our partners in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and through our national organization, Pulse Canada, to expand those global markets because Canada is a leading exporter in pulses and we want to build on the success we have enjoyed so far.
As many APG members heard at FarmTech in January from Murad Al-Katib of AGT Foods, this is certainly an exciting time to be a pulse grower in Alberta. Read more on page 14 about why he believes that Alberta is the next frontier for pulses.
APG agrees that conditions are favourable to grow more pulses in Alberta, and producers have been proving us right with increasing pulse acreage year after year. APG’s goal of increasing pulse acres from seven per cent in 2015 to 15 per cent in 2020 (370,000 per year for next five years) was spot on with the record 2.4 million acres estimated to have been seeded last year.
Pulses have a great economic story to tell for Alberta producers, who are seeing the rotational benefits and lower input costs of planting pulses.
APG’s membership grew by 900 new pulse producers last year. APG works hard to ensure that first-time growers have the best agronomic advice possible, and experienced pulse growers receive support as required through APG staff, agronomic advice at www.pulse.ab.ca, educational events, printed materials like Pulse Crop News and the recent Root Rot publication that was mailed out with the last issue, the Pulse Check e-newsletter, and more.
If the buzz at FarmTech is any indication, APG should see another surge in pulse growers and markets in the coming growing season.
I eagerly anticipate announcing further developments in the areas of export and value-added production. APG is also working to boost the demand for Alberta-grown pulses here at home. For consumers, we will build on the health and sustainability awareness that has already had such a positive impact. We are looking forward to the release of our Baking with Pulses cookbook shortly, which will follow our very popular Pulses: Cooking with Beans, Peas, Lentils & Chickpeas recipe book that was made available earlier this year. We also have some new initiatives planned for
communicating with Albertans about the goodness and versatility of pulses in the coming year.
Currently, the majority of Alberta-grown pulses are exported overseas, but we are seeing more and more companies setting up pulse facilities in Alberta and we are certain that it is just a matter of time before we reach the APG goal of moving the number of secondary value-added processing facilities from zero in 2015 to three enterprises by 2020.
Ultimately, all of this work is aimed at helping growers to sell more pulses. Like most of you, I’m looking forward to seeding and pulses will be in my farm’s rotation again, as they have been for over 25 years.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you over the years and look forward to speaking with you at APG and industry events and hearing your ideas to move the industry forward. I am also looking forward to meeting new pulse growers and hearing about your experiences and how APG can be of service.