Source: University of Idaho AgKnowledge 244

A federal marketing grant awarded to the Idaho Bean Commission and Idaho State Department of Agriculture has grown into a rewarding partnership with the University of Idaho's Foundation Seed Program at Kimberly, Idaho companies, and bean producers in Mexico.

The grant, said Kathy Stewart-Williams, foundation seed manager, helped "promote Idaho certified seed and expand sales into Mexico because we grow fantastic seed here in Idaho." From 2004 to 2008, Global Trade Information Services reported Mexico's dry bean seed imports from Idaho more than doubled from 23 to 52 percent of market share, said Diana Caldwell, Idaho Bean Commission executive director.

The first year of field trials in Mexico's rich agricultural Sinaloa proved the program's potential in 2006. "We learned Idaho seed held up really well in their production conditions," Stewart-Williams said.

Stewart-Williams presented a popular planting seminar at Mexico's largest agricultural expo in February.

"It's always fun to talk to people who are excited about what you're doing. And they're very interested in it," she said.