BeanCon23 connects buyers with sellers of North Dakota and Minnesota dry beans

BeanCon23 held from Feb. 27-March 3, 2023, focused on innovation and trends in dry edible beans.

A large sign that says BeanCon23
The U.S. Dry Bean Council held BeanCon23 in Medellín, Columbia.
Contributed / U.S. Dry Bean Council

The U.S. Dry Bean Council brought buyers and sellers together in Medellín, Columbia, at BeanCon 23.

The event, held from Feb. 27-March 3, 2023, focused on innovation and trends in dry edible beans. BeanCon was launched in 2021 as a virtual event and was held in 2022 as a hybrid event, attended in person in Puerto Vallarta and online.

About 200 people, including representatives of Northarvest Bean Growers Association, edible bean exporters and edible bean importers attended BeanCon23, said Rebecca Bratter, U.S. Dry Bean Council executive director.

Dylan Karley, general manager of Johnstown (North Dakota) and North Central Commodities and an edible bean farmer, was among the United States group who attended. Karley, who has participated in many edible bean trade missions, was impressed with the innovative marketing approach of BeanCon 23, which included information on nutrition, new uses of edible beans and the latest forms in which beans can be purchased.

Packages of dry edible beans
BeanCon23 highlighted the many types of beans and the numerous ways they can be used as a healthy protein source.
Contributed / U.S. Dry Bean Council

“Overall, it was a lot different type of bean conference than most typically are,” Karley said. “As someone who has been very tied to the trade side of the industry for so long, it was very refreshing.”


While there was information presented about worldwide edible bean production and crop conditions, the focus was on the “big picture” of making the global buyers aware that edible beans are a healthy, protein-rich food that are available in frozen forms and can be served in restaurants, as they are in the United States.

During the event the U.S. Dry Bean Council promoted U.S. edible beans, which compete against Argentina for South American sales. South American buyers purchase all classes of beans, except for pintos, Bratter said.

While demand for many commodities grown in the United States have reached their peak, there still are opportunities to create markets for edible beans.

Three men look at packages of edible beans.
BeanCon23 promoted the nutritional content and sustainability of dry edible beans.
Contributed / U.S. Dry Bean Council

“There’s a global movement of people now who want to eat beans,” Bratter said.

Edible bean plant breeders, meanwhile, are developing varieties that farmers can plant to increase their edible bean production to meet the demand.

“We want to match the incredible excitement and demand for dry beans around the world and in the United States,” she said.

Chefs from around the world gave demonstrations on how they are using edible beans, an old world food, in new ways, she said. Edible beans are used not only as a main or side dish, but also as an ingredient in foods such as pasta and flour.

“Beans can be used to do things we never thought of before,” Bratter said.


The U.S. Dry Bean Council also presented information about the nutritional value of beans and how they contribute to a healthy diet, how consuming them can reduce diabetes and how they can contribute to longevity, Bratter said. The council also gave information on new forms of beans that are available which include pre-cooked and frozen.

Information about the availability of beans as a protein source that can feed a large number of groups of people — in institutional settings such as the military and schools — also was highlighted at BeanCon23.

“I think the overall message is that dry beans are having a moment and the world is recognizing the incredible sustainability and taste property of dry beans, and I think the opportunity for increased sales are tremendous,” Bratter said.

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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