Henry Thompson - Keynote Speaker

"Beans Go Viral: Building Blocks for Making the Desire for Beans Infectious!"

 Henry J. Thompson is a Professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and Director of the Cancer Prevention Laboratory at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins. He is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society for Nutrition.  Dr. Thompson earned his Ph.D from Rutgers University in nutritional sciences with an emphasis in biochemistry. Thompson received postdoctoral training in the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN where he investigated the underlying causes of diabetes.  From 1977 to 1979, he assumed the role of a senior research nutritionist at IIT Research Institute in Chicago, IL and was trained in experimental carcinogenesis, learning methods for the chemical induction of cancer in five organ sites thus launching his career in cancer research. From 1980 to 1989, Dr. Thompson served on the faculty of the University of New Hampshire and directed the Human Nutrition Center at that institution. Beginning in 1990, Thompson moved his laboratory to Denver, Colorado where he was the Head of the Center for Nutrition in the Prevention of Disease at AMC Cancer Research Center. In January 2003, Henry joined the faculty of CSU  and established the Cancer Prevention Laboratory (CPL) in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. His decision to do this was based in part on the results of three dietary intervention studies that he conducted in women at high risk for breast cancer. The studies were designed to discover the effects of plant food rich diets on biomarkers for cancer risk.  Because of modest effects observed in women eating as much as 16 serving of vegetables and fruits per day, Thompson initiated discussions with plant breeders and producers of staple food crops which led to the formulation of the hypothesis that the most health beneficial cultivars of staple plant foods are currently not known, in part, because plant breeders and biomedical scientists have not had the opportunity to interact to determine “human health-related plant characteristics”. These discussions ultimately led to Thompson’s lab moving to CSU where his current research investigates the human health benefits of staple food crops, namely dry beans, potato, wheat and rice. Dr. Thompson played a leadership role in defining the field of Biomedical Agriculture and in establishing the “Crops for Health” program at Colorado State University. He presented the Betty Klepper Endowed Lectureship at the 2007 CSSA meeting in New Orleans, LA, titled “Biomedical Agriculture: A New Approach to Improving the Human Health Attributes of Staple Food Crops”. This presentation initiated a cascade of events, including the development of the trial division C-9, “Biomedical, Health-Beneficial, and Nutritionally Enhanced Plants”. This division will hold its first symposium and scientific paper sessions at the 2009 CSSA meetings. He has a long standing interest in the associations between diet and breast cancer, and maintains an active program of clinical and laboratory research that addresses this topic. Dr. Thompson has published more than 180 journal articles and book chapters. In summary, Dr. Thompson has contributed extensively to interest in the health benefits of staple food crops and is now leading an effort to establish a transdisciplinary program that will foster contemporary approaches to crop improvement for biomedically important traits. 



Dr. Frayne Olson - North Dakota State University

 "Trade, Tariffs, and Crop Market Outlook"

Dr. Frayne Olson is the Crop Economist/Marketing Specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension and Director of the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives. Dr. Olson conducts educational programs and research in evaluating crop marketing strategies, crop outlook and price analysis, and the economics of crop contracting. As Director of the Center for Cooperatives, he teaches a senior level course on cooperative business management and coordinates the Center’s research and outreach activities. 

Dr. Olson received his PhD from the University of Missouri in Agricultural Economics, and his M.S. and B.S. in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University.


Rebecca Bratter - US Dry Bean Council

 United States Dry Bean Council Update

Rebecca has spent the last twenty years dedicated to global market development and trade for a variety of US agricultural commodities and has served as the Executive Director for the US Dry Bean Council since 2015.  Working closely with the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), she has represented the global trade interests of the US wood product industry, US wheat growers and farmers, US corn, barley, and sorghum growers and processors, agricultural technical providers, and traders, and the US rice industry’s food security policy interests. In her current role, she provides leadership and vision to the overall direction of the US Dry Bean Council with an emphasis on global competitiveness and export market development interests. She has also collaborated with both FAS and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on humanitarian feeding and nutritional programs utilizing US origin commodities to provide sustenance for food insecure nations.  She has been active in developing broad trade policy agendas to run in tandem with global market development activities and has represented US agricultural interests in bilateral and regional trade negotiations and at multilateral fora such as the World Trade Organization (WTO).  A key aspect of her roles with various associations has been leadership of industry and association committees to achieve consensus among divergent interests with a view towards program excellence.  To that end, together with other members of executive leadership, she has played a leadership role in several organizational development initiatives ensuring use of best practices and streamlining operations for efficiency. Before joining the US Dry Bean Council, Rebecca ran her own agricultural consulting practice, The Chaski Group, working with US agricultural trade groups on new market development and food aid policy.  Rebecca has lived and worked all over the globe and is fluent in Spanish and speaks decent Portuguese, along with a smattering of other languages.  An outdoor enthusiast, she lives in Portland, OR with her husband and dog, Madiba.



Susan Proper - USDA ERS

USDA  Dry Bean Statistics

Susan Proper is the cross commodity economist for field crops (oilseeds, feed grains, and wheat) in the Market and Trade Economics Division at USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).   Prior to joining ERS, Susan was an agricultural economist for the USDA Farm Service Agency.  She has also worked as a research analyst for a commodities trading firm and as a systems engineer for various government agencies, primarily on future transportation technologies.  


Samuel Peck - Jack's Bean International

International Markets

Raised in Montana, spending most of his time in the Beartooth mountains, Colorado has been home since the beginning of 1991.  Started in the bean industry the fall of 1980, with Berger and Company in San Francisco. Almost 40 years later, six inches shorter and much grayer then most have known, the bean industry still gets me going every day.  Been lucky enough to have traveled extensively throughout the growing regions of North America, China, Ethiopia, and much of South America over the past 20 years, and has lived in Dubai, UAE and Lima, Peru.

After 37 years as a pure international bean trader, 2 years ago joined Jack’s Bean, and the group of grower/processors involved in Jack’s Bean Company, in Holyoke, Colorado.   I spend most of my time marketing the groups dried beans overseas, but also still trade product from third country to third country.  


Keven Sawchuk - Viterra Inc.

Canadian Crop Report  

Keven Sawchuk is a Senior Merchandiser for Viterra Inc., which is part of the Glencore Agriculture global commodity trading network. Keven is based in Taber, Alberta, in the heart of an irrigated farming district that produces a wide variety of specialty crops. He has been focused on the international trade of dry beans and other pulse crops for the past two decades.  He often presents market analysis to grower groups, trade associations and international meetings related to pulse crops. His other related experience includes logistics, processing plant design, quality system implementation and audit, and process improvement.



Andrew Fontaine - Spokane Seed Company

Pea and Lentil Report

Born and raised in the Seattle area, Andrew became a loyal alumnus of Washington State University in 2000, graduating with an Advertising/Marketing degree. As the President / G. M. for Spokane Seed Company, Andrew is responsible for all daily operations as well as all Domestic and International trading for the 111 year old company. Spokane Seed Company prides itself on supreme processing that permits them to supply the largest most recognized food companies in the world.   

Andrew is a fourth generation pulse trader with 17 years’ experience selling Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas. He is a very active member of the US Dry Pea and Lentils Council. Andrew serves as the Domestic Marketing Committee Chairman. He is also the current Vice Chairman of the National Board for that group. In his spare time he enjoys many outdoor activities and spending time with his wife and three sons.