Growing New Markets for Colorado Pulse Crops

Front Range Region



Primary Topic:

Food and Agriculture

Other Topics:

Natural Resources and Sustainability

Lead Mentor:  

Martha Sullins

Extension specialist

Internship Overview:

A recent market study completed by CSU outlined some research steps that will complement production-oriented research already occurring on campus and in the field. It is important to explore how markets for pulse crops can be expanded and differentiated to encompass new consumers and new products. This internship will to conduct market research which will provide actionable steps for the industry. The internship will include the opportunity to meet with and learn from production and marketing researchers and pulse growers and intermediaries. Results from this research will be compiled into a report for the Colorado Dry Bean Administrative Committee and will be presented to both the Committee as well as growers.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

This internship will include the following research steps:
a. Interview other state associations and dry bean commodity organizations to see what innovative strategies they are using to increase consumer interest in legumes and pulses.
b. Survey businesses in the “U.S.-Grown Retail Products and Ingredients Suppliers for Pulses” directory about innovations in ingredients and sourcing that they are seeing or anticipating.
c. Investigate a Specialty Crop Block Grant to build a web site that profiles Colorado products made with Colorado-grown/processed legumes and pulses to draw more attention to these products.
d. Survey Colorado growers on their priorities for and interest in dry beans as a rotational crop.
e. Seek out growers of unique products. What are their perceptions of the market for more specialized products? What are the implications for Colorado producers?
f. Interview processors such as Ardent Mills and Bay State (as well as others located outside of Colorado). What are the types of products, quality, and quantities they are looking for?
g. Map the existing processing infrastructure in CO. Where are cleaning, bagging, and milling operations located? What geographical regions do they serve?
h. Develop a report that details results from this research and steps that pulse producers, researchers and industry affiliates can take to advance markets for pulse crops in Colorado.

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

The Colorado Dry Bean Administrative Committee, bean dealers throughout Colorado, CSU’s Crop Testing Program, USA Pulses and commercial buyers of whole and processed bean products.

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

The student will learn how to engage with a variety of stakeholders, from growers to buyers and collect and present information that provides those stakeholders with realistic opportunities to grow this sector for multiple values (economic, environmental). Both generating action-oriented information and presenting it to stakeholder groups represent significant professional development opportunities for future Extension professionals.
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