By MATTHEW WEAVER
U.S. pulse industry leaders say they are hopeful the final version of a new farm bill will include $25 million for a nutrition and research initiative.
Todd Scholz, director of research at the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, said the Pulse Health Initiative would authorize $25 million a year for five years. The initiative is in the Senate version of the Farm Bill and "kind of" in the House version, he said.
USDA Agricultural Research Service would administer the initiative, which would include related nutritional research and other work for pulses, beans and processing.
Scholz said Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chair of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, supports the initiative, a positive sign for its approval.
Scholz pointed to the success of the $1.25 million three-year grant that supported the aphid tracker project at the University of Idaho. That project identified patterns of aphid behavior and movement, markers for pea enation mosaic virus resistance and the areas with the most risk.
"Think about what we could do with $25 million (each year) over five years," he said.
A good portion of the founding would go to the Pacific Northwest for breeding efforts, Scholz said, although he declined to estimate how much.