HOMEDALE, Idaho — A group of Mexican bean industry representatives who visited Idaho Sept. 2-5 said they were extremely impressed with the quality of Idaho dry bean seed.
“The quality of seeds you’re producing here is very impressive,” said Benny Rempel, general manager of an agricultural company in Chihuahua state.
Rempel said that during the visit he saw “a couple of varieties that we would like to try down there and see if they work for us.”
Attendees who were part of the in-bound trade mission were taken on a tour of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s pathology lab, where seeds are tested and certified as disease-free and visited bean field trials at University of Idaho’s Kimberly and Parma experiment stations.
They also visited dry bean farms and Treasure Valley Seed Co.’s production facility in Homedale.
“I have seen some very interesting things and ... new production systems. It’s different from what we have,” said Erasmo Robles, a seed dealer.
Robles said it’s likely the visit would result in his customers purchasing Idaho bean seed “since the seed you produce here is very good and seed of your quality is really the starting point for us to have really good bean production in Zacatecas.” Zacatecas is a state in central Mexico.
“Definitely, yes,” said Abelardo Carrera when asked whether the visit would result in his customers buying Idaho seed.
The in-bound trade mission was hosted by the Idaho Bean Commission, which has conducted several field trials in Mexico over the past several years to try to show growers there the benefits of using certified Idaho seed.
Because of the positive results of those trials, Mexican bean industry leaders wanted to see first-hand the quality control measures that are in place to ensure Idaho seed is disease-free, said Armando Orellana, director of Idaho’s trade office in Mexico.
“The trials are starting to pay off,” said Orellana, who accompanied the visitors on the trade mission. “I’m very pleased to see how they are reacting and to see the intentions they expressed to us. They have been able to see what they can achieve by buying seed from Idaho,”
Dry beans are indigenous to the southern regions of Mexico and it’s a tall order to try to expand into those areas, said IBC board member Don Tolmie.
But because of the strong breeding and production systems in place in Idaho, “our varieties are superior to their indigenous varieties and they are very impressed with what they see when they come up here as far as production,” he said.
The strong U.S. dollar vs. the Mexican peso will make it tough to do a lot of business right now, Tolmie said, but visits like this will pay off over time because they’re seeing first-hand that some of the newer varieties used in Idaho are doubling or tripling yields.
“These folks understand the huge potential here,” he said. “As they have to feed more mouths, they need more production and that takes better seed.”