Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Steve Ritter photo, Bean seed harvest near Burley
Idaho bean seed to Mexico?
For the past seven years the Idaho Bean Commission has promoted bean seed to farmers in Mexico. In August Mexican dry bean industry officials came to Idaho to see plots of Peruano yellow dry beans, a popular favorite in the state of Sinaloa .

"They were really interested and we're very interested and they gave us some great management ideas,” said University of Idaho Foundation Seed Manager Kathy Stewart- Williams. Stewart-Williams says researchers harvested custom bean seed from Mexican seed stock last year at the U of I.

“While the seed was free from absolutely all bacterial diseases or any of those concerns it was definitely susceptible to bean common mosaic virus,” said Stewart-Williams.

U of I researchers went to work with the help of US plant breeders and came up bean seed with mosaic resistance in it. Stewart-Williams says a relationship was built and years of work in Mexico are paying off with the Peruano project.
"And the interest on both sides, both in Idaho and Sinaloa is so positive that I think we’re going to get there,” she said.

Getting there could mean another export market for Idaho dry bean seed growers. Idaho bean seed exports in 2006 increased 125 percent in value over 2005 while the 2007 stats show a further increase of nearly one quarter to 1.78 million dollars worth of sales.

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