Episode 1

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Published on:

24th Mar 2020

What's Happening in Pulse Crops?

Welcome to Growing Pulse Crops Podcast! In our first episode we speak with Tim McGreevy, CEO of the American Pulse Association. Tim explains how pulse crops became a priority in the farm bill and what federal funds has helped them to accomplish. The Pulse Crop initiative expanded research in nutrition data for these crops as well as the benefits to the cropping system. 

Pulse crops play an integral role in “supporting sustainable agricultural systems around the world.” This has led to recognition and designation of 2016 being the international year of pulses by the United Nations. The US and Canada, top competitors in the industry, joined forces to take advantage of this opportunity and promote awareness for pulse crops. This effort has led to “exciting product innovation in plant based foods.”


“We (pulses) are in beverages, we’re in baked goods, we’re in pastas, we’re in deserts. We are in everything now and it’s growing.” - Tim McGreevy


Despite this recognition and promotion, the industry as a hole has faced more recent obstacles. Trade tariffs have resulted in some varieties, especially peas, lentils and chickpeas, to be priced below the cost of production. Another set back involved a recent announcement from the FDA suggesting a correlation between grain-free pet foods using pulse crops as substitutes for conventional grains and dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. The research to verify the causation of diet induced dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs is ongoing but unfortunately consumer confusion has led to a fall in demand of these crops by pet food companies.


Despite these difficulties, McGreevy see’s a bright future ahead for the pulse crop industry. Recent annual research reviews highlight the techniques to “raise high quality disease free products” that put nitrogen back into the soil. They also suggest product innovation to fit these crops better into mainstream food supplies and will hopefully lead the way to an expansion of their available market. 


This Week on Growing Pulse Crops:


  • Meet Tim McGreevy, CEO of the American Pulse Association
  • Explore the benefits of pulse crops in todays agricultural landscape
  • Learn about the collaborations and successes made by the Pulse Crop Industry
  • Hear about the difficulties faced by the industry in recent years 
  • Discover the actions taken to overcome these issues and the bright future ahead for pulse crops


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
Join us as we follow pulse crop farmers through the growing season and dive into the research that’s helping them through some of the challenges they face. We’ll also talk to a number of other industry stakeholders along the way.

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.