Pulse Health Pilot
There were many reasons to cheer the Senate passing their version of the 2012 Farm Bill last Thursday, not the least being the approval of Washington Senator Maria Cantwell’s bipartisan ‘Pulse School Pilot’ amendment to the Farm Bill that would increase the use of pulse crops in the school breakfast and lunch program. Through the Pulse Health Pilot the Ag Secretary would have $10 million over the next five years to purchase pulse crops for the school meal program. Pulse crops include dry peas, dry beans, chickpeas, and lentils. Washington is the nation’s top chickpea producer and is third in the nations for pea and lentil production. Senator Cantwell talks about the motivation behind amendment number 2370.
CANTWELL: Well, Washington state is a big producer of peas, lentils, chickpeas - and you’re seeing a growing consumption of these products in America because people realize the healthy benefits of a high protein product that also has good fiber. So, we want more research done about what other products can be developed from peas and lentils, and we also want it included in the school lunch program. We think it’s time to get a product like this, a healthy product, on the menu.
With over 1,000 farms producing pulse crops in Washington and 22 processors employing over 300 people in in Eastern Washington, the ‘Pulse School Pilot’ amendment would not only help take school meals in a healthier direction, it would also give a boost to agricultural jobs in Washington state.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.