The dry bean industry is characterized by high regional concentration in production and processing (Fig. 1). However, production concentration is geographically dislocated from dry bean processing facilities. Dry bean processors are located predominantly in the eastern regions of the United States and Canada, while production expansion between 1970 and 1990 has accrued in the western regions (Table 1). This geographic dislocation between production and processing, combined with changing economic conditions within the industry, has forced dry bean processor to consider strategies for procuring supplies from areas with greater geo-economic relevance to their processing facilities and final demand.
Pinto beans comprise the largest volume of any dry bean class produced for human consumption in the United States (Table 2). Total pinto bean production increased 151% between 1970 and 1990, with North Dakota and Colorado accounting for almost half of the crop. Exports and rising domestic demand for ethnic foods have contributed significantly to continued production expansion in pinto beans.
Navy beans accounted for the second largest volume of dry edible bean production in 1990, however, their domestic share of total production has declined (Table 2). This decline resulted primarily from lower export demand in Canada and the United Kingdom since 1980. Michigan's overall decline in dry bean production between 1980 and 1990 was directly attributed to weaker market demand for navy beans. Michigan accounts for over 50% of all navy bean production in the United States.
Food service industry demand in the United States has generated new production opportunities for dry bean classes not previously grown in large quantities, including small red, small white, and pink beans (P. vulgaris); blackeye pea (Vigna unguiculata); and garbanzo/chickpea (Cicer arietinum). Next to pinto beans, these specialty dry bean classes collectively generated the highest rate of domestic production expansion between 1970 and 1990 (Table 2). The small red dry bean class currently exhibits the greatest demand growth, and the greatest potential for production expansion in the ENCR.
Potential net returns from dry edible beans as an alternative crop favor production expansion in the ENCR (Westcott and Zepp 1989). At current yields, gross receipts of $576/acre ($1,423/ha) are possible. Net returns at this level compete favorably with maize and soybean production under midwestern conditions in most years. Assuming designation by the Secretary of Agriculture under the triple-base statutes of the 1990 Farm Bill, producers in the ENCR could further increase their competitive position. Producers could substitute dry bean crops for a portion of their program area without accruing future crop base penalties. Under this program provision, the breakeven price for dry edible bean production would be consistently lower for ENCR producers than for producers in western regions (Westcott and Zepp 1989). While dry bean prices have been well above $16.50 per hundredweight ($363.66/t) over the last ten years (Table 3), prices at this level would still generate net returns that are competitive with maize in the ENCR. By comparison, dry bean prices would have to consistently exceed $24 per hundredweight ($529/t) to profitably compete with maize production in most western regions. This price level would also encourage the expansion of dry bean imports into the United States.
A statewide research and development initiative is geared to expand dry edible bean production in Indiana. The Indiana Business Modernization and Technology Corporation, and the Indiana Commissioner of Agriculture's Value-Added Grants Program provided development grants to help accomplish the objectives of this program initiative. Brooks Foods has provided the industry leadership for developing, testing, multiplying and commercializing small red bean cultivars that can be adapted to farming conditions in Indiana and the ENCR. Promising cultivar selections were made and multiplied in cooperation with Asgrow Seed Company in 1990 for further field testing in 1991 and 1992. Seed multiplication for limited commercial plantings has been targeted for 1993, with full commercialization by Brooks Foods expected in 1994. Market and economic feasibility assessments indicate that these initiatives could increase dry edible bean production in the ENCR by 37 thousand tonnes annually (Sullivan 1990). This level of expansion translates into nearly 45 thousand acres (18,225 ha) of new production opportunities for growers.
|Production (tonnes)||Value ($1000)||Production (tonnes)||Value ($1000)||Production (tonnes)||Value ($1000)z|
|East North Central|
|West North Central|
|Lt. Red Kidney||692.15||590.94||947.04|