Dry Bean Industry Challenges & Opportunities
The New York Farm Viability Institute, Inc. is a farmer-led non-profit organization dedicated to
strengthening agriculture in New York State by helping individual agricultural producers
succeed. While each farming enterprise faces its own challenges, some issues are common to
many producers in a given production sector or industry segment. NYFVI seeks to identify
priority issues of industry-wide scope that can be addressed either with resources at the
Institute’s disposal, or through the efforts of collaborating organizations.
In December 2006 NYFVI along with Cornell Cooperative Extension, the New York
Agricultural Experiment Station and the Dry Bean Industry Advisory Committee organized an
effort to identify barriers to success and profitability for the dry bean industry in New York
State. The group identified intermediate-term threats and opportunities to the industry, along
with potential production and business management system changes that could make a difference
to enterprise success. Focus group participants and other industry leaders subsequently rated
these threats, opportunities, and promising changes in ways of doing business as “low”,
“medium” or “high” priority. This yielded a composite ranking of all the issues on a scale of 100
(lowest possible score) to 300 (highest possible score). A score of 300 indicates that every
person who rated the item gave it a “high” priority rating. The lowest possible score is 100,
meaning that every individual gave that item a “low” rating. The number preceding each item
below is the composite ranking score.
Following is the full list of issues identified by focus groups in ranked order. During the scoring
process respondents were able to add items. The added items appear at the bottom of each
section without a score since they were added by an individual and not rated by the group.
In developing project proposals for NYFVI consideration, researchers, consultants, and
educators are encouraged to consult this list of issues. Priority will be given to projects that
clearly address the highest priority issues.
Five-year threats to the success of the New York Dry Bean Industry:
284 The need to get new varieties out into the field for testing and use. Specifically
varieties that are disease resistant, higher yielding, water tolerant, with higher
pods, and shorter growing seasons that can be raised in NYS.
284 Profitability of the enterprise in relation to the risk involved in terms of crop yield,
price and quality.
272 Canners moving toward requiring contracts at prices too low to be profitable.
268 High and increasing input and harvest costs.
244 Competition for growing other crops, specifically corn and soybeans.
243 NYS weather conditions - dry beans are not as water tolerant as other crops.
240 The need for new varieties that will work better with mechanical harvest equipment.
236 Foreign imports depressing prices, especially in what should be high priced years.
236 Foreign dry bean imported, repackaged and sold as NY beans.
216 The loss of market outlets for lower quality beans.
212 Insufficient funding available for dry bean research.
196 Crop rotation requirements to provide disease control and maintain soil health.
188 Government subsidies for program crops effectively penalize growers for
171 Diminishing acreage available to growers for purchase, rent and crop rotation.
160 Crop insurance - as currently written and administered it is of little value to
Price of beans has to increase for dry beans to compete with other crops.
Competition for land
Five-year opportunities for advancement of the New York Dry Bean Industry:
254 Promoting the health aspects of dry bean consumption in promotion and
252 Development of new bean products for consumer markets.
250 Reopening the Cuban export market.
238 New, vigorous dry bean varieties that are on the horizon.
229 Generating interest on the part of seed companies to conduct research on public
dry bean varieties.
228 Reduced tillage options that could reduce fuel use and input costs.
225 The increasing US Hispanic population should create marketing opportunities for
225 School dry bean program similar to the school milk program to encourage the use
of dry beans in school lunches.
220 Quality advantages of NY dry beans for canning, e.g. higher moisture content.
217 Allan Canning coming to the area.
213 Market opportunities arising from NY's proximity to consumers; such as buy local,
eat local campaigns.
200 Increasing transportation cost creating a competitive advantage for NY growers.
188 Using dry bean production to facilitate crop rotation and even out seasonal
142 Organic markets for dry beans.
Improve soil health to up dry bean yields & improve water percolation to get in to
plant & harvest promptly
Potential production system changes that could improve productivity and profitability:
256 Cheaper and more effective chemicals.
252 Development and use of more stress resistant dry bean varieties.
236 Dry bean varieties with better ``stand-ability.’’
232 Development of dry bean varieties with pods higher off the ground.
224 Roundup ready dry beans.
224 Wider adoption of management practices to produce a higher quality product, i.e.
better rotations, closer watch on soil fertility, better planting and harvest schedules,
use of good equipment that is properly adjusted, etc.
220 Direct one step harvest.
220 The ability to harvest more quickly with one person.
217 Development and adoption of reduced tillage techniques.
192 Lengthening crop rotations to improve yields.
187 Increasing plant populations to increase yields.
Potential business system changes that could improve productivity and profitability:
271 More market outlets for dry beans.
228 Use of the Pride of New York program.
228 Market outlets for off quality dry beans.
216 Country of origin and state of origin labeling requirements.
171 The ability to attract quality, trained employees.