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Nebraskans Promote Dry Edible Beans While in China

Nebraskans Promote Dry Edible Beans While in China

Researchers highlighted nutritional benefits of this western Nebraska crop.

More than 100 Chinese nutritionists, food manufacturers, government officials and researchers attended a seminar late recently designed to encourage the use of Nebraska dry edible beans in the Chinese diet.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), Nebraska Dry Bean Commission and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln hosted "Application of Dry Edible Beans in Food Manufacturing" at a hotel in Beijing in mid-August. The one-day event, coordinated by NDA, featured three UNL food science professors and several Chinese officials as presenters. Other partners in the event included the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The seminar was conducted on the back end of a Nebraska trade mission to Taiwan and Hong Kong, led by Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy, and China, led by Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach.

"This seminar is the result of previous visits with Chinese government officials," Ibach says. "They have a strong desire to get more protein into the diets of Chinese citizens, and we've worked with them to understand that Nebraska dry

edible beans can fill that void.

"The feedback we received from seminar attendees was even better than expected," Ibach said.

The event featured the work of Vicki Schlegel, UNL associate professor in the Food Science and Technology Department; Marilynn Schnepf, UNL professor in the Nutrition and Health Sciences Department; and Wajira Ratnayake, UNL assistant professor in The Food Processing Center. The three discussed features of Nebraska dry beans, the beans' value in human diets, and applications of beans in food manufacturing.

Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources, who was in attendance as a member of the trade delegation, says seminar participants were engaged and receptive to the information.

"This was an outstanding opportunity to share the results of dry bean research in a real-world setting. It has great potential to have a positive impact on dry bean farmers in the state of Nebraska," Green says.

Ibach says that the Nebraska delegation also spent a day at the Chinese Agricultural University's School of Science and Nutrition Engineering and visited the Wu Gu Dao Change Foods Company, Ltd., to discuss the technical aspects of incorporating Nebraska dry edible beans into Chinese food products.

"The opportunity for the Nebraska dry bean industry, in a marketplace the size of China, is huge," Ibach says. "We will work diligently with our partners to follow-up on trade leads resulting from this event."

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