Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, June 04, 2021, Page 11, Image 11

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    Friday, June 4, 2021 11
Drought: ‘It caught us off-guard’ Organic: Across all categories, growth limited by supply
Continued from Page 1
Continued from Page 1
“We expect the impacts to fall
mostly on dryland areas,” Ecol-
ogy drought coordinator Jeff
Marti said.
Conditions were far worse
in 2015. Washington declared
a statewide drought that year
on May 15. At the time, Ecol-
ogy had little money on hand for
relief, but lawmakers were still
in session to appropriate emer-
gency funds.
By late summer, Ecology
was able to distribute $6.7 mil-
lion for 15 public drought-relief
projects. Several irrigation dis-
tricts received grants.
Ecology called the drought
a “learning experience.” The
agency wrote a drought con-
tingency plan in 2018. The
plan recommended “more cer-
tainty regarding the availability
of drought funding” for a more
timely response.
The Legislature has adjourned
for this year. No budget pro-
posal, from the governor’s
office or Democratic or Repub-
money for emergency drought
“We didn’t think it was going
to happen,” Warnick said. “It
caught us off-guard.”
In passing cap-and-trade and
low-carbon fuels bills, the Legis-
lature cited droughts as a reason
for passing the climate-change
with our families, and often cook-
ing three meals a day,” said Laura
Batcha, the association’s CEO and
executive director.
“Good, healthy food has never
been more important, and consum-
ers have increasingly sought out the
organic label,” she said.
Fresh organic produce sales rose
by nearly 11% in 2020 to $18.2
million. Frozen and canned fruits
and vegetables also jumped with
frozen sales alone rising by more
than 28%.
Including frozen, canned and
dried products, total sales of
organic fruit and vegetables in 2020
were $20.4 billion. More than 15%
of the fruits and vegetables sold in
U.S were organic.
Pantry stocking was over-
whelmingly the main growth driver
in 2020. Sales of organic flours
and baked goods grew by 30%.
Sales of sauces and spices
pushed the $2.4 billion condiments
category to a growth rate of 31%,
and organic spice sales jumped
by 51% — more than triple the
growth rate of 15% in 2019.
Meat, poultry and fish, the
smallest of the organic catego-
ries at $1.7 billion, had the sec-
ond-highest growth rate of nearly
25 percent.
“The only thing that constrained
growth in the organic food sector
was supply,” said Angela Jagiello,
the association’s director of educa-
tion and insights.
“Across all the organic catego-
ries, growth was limited by sup-
ply, causing producers, distribu-
tors, retailers and brands to wonder
where numbers would have peaked
if supply could have been met,” she
Ingredients and packaging were
both in short supply, as were work-
ers and drivers to transport product.
The organic non-food category
did not see the same exceptional
growth in 2020 as organic food, but
its growth held steady with prior
years. Sales of organic non-food
products reached $5.4 billion, up
8.5% and only slightly below the
9.2% growth reported in 2019.
This year’s survey was con-
ducted from January through
March by Nutrition Business Jour-
nal. Nearly 200 companies com-
pleted a significant portion of the
in-depth survey.
Pulses: ‘I think these crops have been just horribly under-researched’
Continued from Page 1
Today, pulse production has
also spread eastward to nearly 2
million acres in Montana, North
and South Dakota and Nebraska.
Pulses will continue to gener-
ate that same level of growth in the
next 10 years, McGreevy predicts.
“We could be at 10 million
acres in the United States, and in so
many different parts of the country,
just because of the aggregates that
they bring,” he said, referring to
the health and soil benefits that
pulses provide.
‘Never even wore a tie’
McGreevy comes from an agri-
culture-related family. His father,
Dan, started a fertilizer and chem-
ical business, which was pur-
chased by the McGregor Co. Dan
worked for the McGregor Co. for
33 years as a plant manager in
Pullman, Wash.
His mother, Margaret, stud-
ied animal science and went on
to become a Whitman County,
Wash., commissioner.
The couple met at Washing-
ton State College — now Wash-
ington State University — in the
1950s and kept a small farm, rais- Tim McGreevy hauls hay with his son, Mitchell.
ing dairy and beef cattle, pigs and
initially turned down the job.
Tim is the second of nine chil-
“I think we spent three hours on
dren. “There’s a bunch,” he said. the phone, and by 1 a.m., he said,
Two siblings are also involved in ‘OK, I’m on board,’” Wittman
McGreevy’s father passed
McGreevy has “more than”
away in 2010, and his mother in lived up to Wittman’s expectations
since coming on board in 1994,
McGreevy graduated from Wittman said.
WSU in 1983 with a bachelor’s
“He has never lost his energy,”
degree in general agriculture and Wittman said. “He has reinvigo-
communications and a master’s rated, re-energized and continues
degree in agricultural economics. to be on the front line of (pulse)
He wanted to be a farmer.
issues after almost 30 years in that
“There was just a deep long- position.”
ing, a deep connection to the
Wittman credits McGreevy with
ground,” he said. “I just loved the advancing the industry beyond the
work, planting things and watch- Pacific Northwest and forging a
ing things grow.”
united front when speaking to fed-
During college and after grad- eral lawmakers about policy.
uation, McGreevy worked for a
“I can’t tell you how many
farmer and rancher who owned times a congressman has said,
a 600-acre operation not far from ‘Why don’t the other commodity
the council office where he works groups do what you’re doing?’”
Wittman said.
“That was just a little bit of ser-
Andrew Fontaine, chairman of
endipity,” McGreevy said.
Courtesy photo
the council’s executive board and
But the Russian grain embargo president of Spokane Seed Co., has Tim McGreevy with his wife, Christine.
of 1980 meant commodity prices observed McGreevy in action for
the Nebraska legislature this year, $1.5 billion in sales.
were “super low” and interest many years.
Beyond Meat, the plant-based
rates were “super high,” meaning
He recalled McGreevy’s efforts and is in the process of joining the
meat substitute, is more than 50%
McGreevy didn’t have the capital in the early 2000s to get peas and national coalition.
The American Pulse Associ- pulses, he said. Some alternative
to buy the farm when the farmer lentils included in the Farm Bill. A
wanted to sell.
USDA spokesman told the indus- ation brings the USA Dry Pea pastas are 100% pulses.
“I was devastated, of course, at try during its annual convention and Lentil Council together with
Peas also play a big role in the
the time,” he said. “My dream of that the crops would never be the dry bean industry to work on plant-based milk category, which
being a commercial farmer on the included because they were just a domestic promotion and research had 20% growth last year with $2.5
Palouse was dashed. But we’re “small commodity.”
on pulses.
billion in sales.
all on a journey. Instead, my path
“After the speaker left the stage,
When McGreevy was first
Under the Farm Bill, the indus-
was to work with farmers.”
Tim went up there and said, ‘Mark hired, the pea and lentil coun- try received $5 million in dedicated
McGreevy’s mother spotted my words, we will be on that bill,’ cil’s annual budget was roughly funding for the pulse crop health ini-
a newspaper advertisement for and sure enough, a year and a half $500,000 to $700,000. Today, the tiative, focusing on nutrition, func-
tionality and sustainability.
executive director of the Idaho later, we were on that bill as a pro- budget is more than $3 million.
USDA Agricultural Research
Wheat Growers Association, gram crop,” Fontaine said. “That’s
Total sales in 1994 were roughly
which later became the Idaho really what catapulted us off into $56 million. At the industry’s peak, Service researchers are part of the
these other regions.”
Grain Producers Association.
in 2017 and 2018, sales were nearly new pulse crop quality network in
“I came right off the combine,
$1 billion. As a result of trade tar- three labs across the U.S, including
iffs in 2020, sales dropped to $500 the Western Wheat Quality Lab on
got on (my) first airplane ride,
Growing crops
The USA Dry Pea and Lentil million, but prices are beginning to the WSU campus. They’re studying
ever, never even wore a tie in my
life ... and went to Boise, inter- Council represents roughly 10,000 pick up again, McGreevy said.
which pulses work best as ingredi-
viewed and they offered me the growers.
Dry bean acreage is similar to ents in certain food uses and assist-
position,” McGreevy said.
It has six international offices, peas, lentils and chickpeas, and ing breeding efforts.
McGreevy later helped to form based in the Indo-Pacific region, total crop sales were nearly $700
It’s something McGreevy’s been
the Idaho Barley Commission Latin America, North Asia, South million in 2019.
working on for more than 20 years.
using checkoff dollars in 1989 and Asia and the Middle East; the
Variety breeding priorities used
The cutting edge
became its first administrator.
to be focused on yield, size and
Mediterranean and North Africa;
Then he was recruited to apply and Europe.
The council targets its resources color, he said.
for the top job at the pulse council.
“Now we’re breeding for protein,
Funding for the council comes to do big things: international
from the Idaho Pea & Lentil Com- and domestic market develop- starch and fiber content,” he said.
Growers on McGreevy
mission, Washington Pulse Crops ment, lobbying, research and food “Our whole breeding program has
Dick Wittman, a retired farmer Commission, Montana Pulse innovation.
shifted because there’s such a signif-
in Culdesac, Idaho, was chairman Crops Committee, North Dakota
“We’re really on the rise,” icant opportunity to use these crops.”
Pulses are also one of only a few
of the council’s grower board at Dry Pea & Lentil Council, South McGreevy said. “Plant-based foods
the time.
Dakota Pulse Crops Council, are really gaining in popularity here plants that produce their own nitro-
The council was reorganizing U.S. Pea & Lentil Trade Associ- in the United States and around the gen, he said. Because of that, they
to incorporate six organizations, ation and Western Pulse Growers world. We’re on the cutting edge of play a significant role in long-term
representing growers, processors Association.
agricultural sustainability.
and exporters on the county, state
“How many plants bring their
In 2020, total plant-based food
and national levels. They needed assesses growers 1% of the net sales were more than $7 billion, a lunch box to work?” he said. “They
someone who could focus on many sale value at the first point of sale, 27% increase over 2019, McGreevy feed themselves, and then they
fronts and coordinate the interests and the grower organizations also said.
leave an extra half-sandwich for the
of all the groups.
contribute to the council’s budget.
During the COVID-19 pan- next crop. There’s not many crops
McGreevy was “by far” the top
The Nebraska Pulse Crops demic, plant-based meat products that can do that.”
choice, Wittman recalled. But he Commission was just created by grew by 45%, representing almost
The council also led the charge
Courtesy photo
with counterparts worldwide to
have the World Trade Organiza-
tion declare 2016 an International
Year of Pulses. McGreevy called
it a “paradigm shift” for the global
pulse industry, increasing the use
and awareness of pulses.
In the next decade, he wants pol-
icy makers and consumers to recog-
nize the importance of pulses.
“I think these crops have been
just horribly under-researched for
the health and nutrition and sus-
tainability they bring to the table,”
he said. “Also, they have been
under-promoted. ... We need to
have a lot more investment in every
aspect of these crops.”
Small farmer at heart
McGreevy says he’s equally
passionate about his job, his farm
and his family.
He and Christine have four
grown children — Maura, Mar-
tin, Mitchell and Kadin — and
two granddaughters, Finnley and
They have been married for 30
The McGreevys live in Mos-
cow. He also owns the farm he grew
up on north of Pullman. He raises
wheat, pulses, canola and grass-fed
beef on about 100 acres. He pays a
neighboring farmer to seed and har-
vest the crops.
“So I’m still a farmer, a small
one,” he said. “It’s just so fun,
because I represent farmers.”
The future
McGreevy doesn’t plan to retire
any time soon.
“I’m having too much fun,” he
The council and American Pulse
Association recently held a virtual
media event with top social media
influencers. A chef from the Culi-
nary Institute of America show-
cased the nutrition and environ-
mental sustainability of pulse crops.
Consumers in the Millennial
generation and Generation Z —
those born between 1980 and 2005
— are more environmentally con-
scious, McGreevy said, adding that
pulses have something to offer them
and the entire food system.
McGreevy predicts higher
demand as ranchers use more
pulses in their feed rations, and the
industry works to reduce its carbon
footprint to net-zero carbon emis-
sions by 2050.
McGreevy pointed to the indus-
try leaders on the boards he over-
sees. They’re all working to posi-
tion pulses as a solution to some of
the biggest problems that the agri-
cultural world faces, he said.
“It’s really exciting,” he said.
“We are at the very beginning.”