The event brought to together around 180 members of organizations such as the USDBC, USA Popcorn Board and the U.S. Dry Pea and Lentil Council.

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Nineteen years in the making the USDBC International Congress once again hosted members of North America’s major pulse associations at its annual event earlier this month, where the upcoming International Year of Pulses (IYOP 2016) was a major focus of conversation.

Held in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the second year in a row—at the request of participants—the event brought together representatives of the U.S. Dry Bean Council, the U.S. Dry Pea, Lentil, Chickpea Council, USA Sunflower Association, and USA Popcorn Board, as well as members of pulse organizations and companies from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, to discuss trending topics, social events and business opportunities related to their industries.

The weekend featured a total of eleven speakers who presented crop and planting information about the different crops in the region to the approximately 180 individuals in attendance. Over 320 one-on-one business meetings were also held as part of the congress. Duane Maatz, the new Executive Director of USDBC, gave the event’s welcoming address alongside Raul Caballero, USDBC representative in Mexico, and Julio Maldonado, Deputy Director at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico. Other presentations included:

  • USA Sunflower Association Crop and Market Update – John Sandbakken, E.D. National Sunflower Association
  • Central America Market Trends and Update – Randy Duckworth, Central America Market Representative, USDBC
  • USA Popcorn Board Crop and Market Update – Richard Duty, President, USA Popcorn Board
  • Export Trade Policy Issues for Grains to Mexico – Jesus Ramirez, COAPROB and Ricardo Calderon, APPAMEX
  • Mexico’s Spring Summer Dry Bean Production Report – Rogelio Olvera, SAGARPA, Chihuahua
  • Mexico’s Fall Winter Dry Bean Production Report – Felipe Sandoval, PURP Org, Sinaloa
  • US Dry Bean Council Crop and Market Update – US Dry Bean Council members
  • The Trend on Consumer Ingredients with the Use of Legumes – Mackenzie Lilwall, Marketing Director, USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council

Cindy Brown, a representative of Chippewa Valley Beans (WI) who serves as Vice President of promotion in North America for the upcoming International Year of Pulses (IYOP) in 2016, gave a presentation on the proposed plans and activities surrounding the initiative. Later Raul Caballero moderated the Industry Panel to Discuss Promotions for the International Year of Pulses 2016 with participation by Jesus Ramirez (Executive Director of COAPROB) and McKenzie Lilwal.

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Brown also met with key local representatives, including Guillermo Cardenas, CEO of Agrigrain Mexico; Agustín Mantanzo, CEO of Abastos Teleno; Alejandro Rubio, CEO of COGSSA; Gerardo Rubio, COGSSA; Enrique Bautista, General Manager at UNIPRO; Rogelio Olvera, Sub Agent with SAGARPA; Arturo Velazquez, UNIPRO Sales Representative; and Jesus Ramirez to discuss Mexico’s involvement in the upcoming International Year of Pulses.

The group discussed IYOP promotional models, logos and procedures in detail. They concluded that the committee’s next steps would be contacting health authorities at Mexico’s Secretary of Health, reaching out to local newspapers about publishing material on IYOP and meeting with the Secretary of Agriculture to discuss the initiative.

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Charlie Higgins, IFT Journalist

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