Episode 11

Published on:

7th Aug 2023

Pulse Flours and Ingredients with Eric Bartsch of AGT Foods

Eric Bartsch is the division head for global food ingredients at AGT Foods based in Bismarck, North Dakota. He’s been with the company for 16 years and through that time they have grown from just a couple factories to now over 45 facilities and $2B in sales. Processing peas, lentils, chickpeas, fava beans and dry edible beans has been their primary focus since they were founded in 2002. While they have ventured into some grain-based products since that time, they still remain focused and bullish on the future of pulse crops.

“There's a lot of things that we've had to establish. Protein checking in peas was non-existent 20 years ago. And now it's where we're checking protein on every load to be able to supply some of the high end markets that we are today. You know a lot of major investments in protein manufacturing plants, in processing, in food manufacturing plants that are incorporating pulses is really at an all time high and continues to grow.” - Eric Bartsch

Eric discusses how much has changed in pulses to make them more attractive to a wider variety of consumers who want tasty and nutritious foods. This has had big impacts on what buyers are looking for from these pulse crops in terms of flavor and functionality. He talks about how that information gets passed from the consumer to the producer and back, and the role AGT Foods plays in facilitating that connection. He also talks about some of the opportunities ahead for the industry, and why he is more optimistic than ever about the market potential for these crops. 

“That's really one of the initiatives we took when we built our Minot plant, is how do we transform pulses into ingredients that can be incorporated into everyday food. So now you look at the market and there's all kinds of gluten-free pasta made from lentils, chickpeas, and peas. They’ve become mainstream where it's become a very large market…So there's many ways to where we've taken pulses, transformed them into an ingredient and incorporated them into everyday foods that consumers are familiar with” - Eric Bartsch

This Week on Growing Pulse Crops:

  • Meet Eric Bartsch, the division head for global food ingredients at AGT Foods based in Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Explore the future of the pulse crop industry from the perspective of a pulse crop processor

Growing Pulse Crops Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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About the Podcast

Growing Pulse Crops
The science and business of farming field peas, chickpeas, and lentils
This show features the latest in research, agronomy, and economics of pulse crops (peas, chickpeas, lentils, etc.).

Demand for these nutrient-dense, high-protein foods continues to grow. There is also interest from farmers to include more pulses into diverse rotations for benefits like nitrogen fixation and soil health.

But the industry continues to face challenges, and we are eager to address these head on. So if you’re a pulse grower or in any way interested in these important crops, hit subscribe and stay tuned for future episodes. We’ll be back with plenty of information about challenges pulse farmers are facing throughout the U.S. and what solutions are working.

Brought to you by the Pulse Crops Working Group with support from the North Central IPM Center and USDA NIFA.

About your host

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Tim Hammerich

I share stories about agriculture, agtech, and agribusiness on podcasts and radio.