- Pulses are a source of plant based proteins, amino acids, antioxidants, fiber and essential nutrients like Iron, Potassium and Folate.
- Pulses are low fat, cholesterol free, sodium free and gluten free.
- When eaten regularly, pulses may help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
- Pulse crops utilize soil moisture efficiently. These crops require little (if any) nitrogen fertilizer; instead they fix nitrogen from the air into the soil.
- Pulse crops help break disease and pest cycles in wheat and barley. When a wheat or barley crop follows a pulse crop it can experience substantial rotational benefits, improving yield and quality.
- Pulse crops are versatile, drought-tolerant and frost-hardy, adding flexibility to cropping systems. If growing conditions turn dry, pulse crops can be harvested or grazed for forage or terminated to conserve soil moisture - the soil will still benefit from nitrogen fixation, rotation, and having a cover crop.
- In Montana, farmers have incorporated pulse crops into their crop rotations to reduce the amount of land left fallow (idle). Pulse crop acres have increased from 350,000 in 2009 to over 800,000 in 2015.
- In 2011, Montana took the lead in U.S. pulse crop acreage. As of today, Montana retains its leadership position in pulse production, selling markets through the nation and in India, Japan, and many other countries around the world.
- Potential exists for substantial growth of the pulse industry in Montana in the coming years. If additional acres of pulse crops were grown on 25% of Montana’s fallow cropland (approximately 900,000 acres) the annual benefit to Montana's economy could exceed $240 million. As the pulse industry grows, Montana communities will benefit from job creation and increased economic activity resulting from additional in-state processing.
Because Montana’s economy, farmers, and communities have so much to gain from expanded pulse production, the Montana Department of Agriculture seeks to help increase growers’ understanding of pulse crops, marketing opportunities, and profit potential. The department works to attract more buyers and processors and encourage the expansion of existing companies, with the goals of increasing delivery points and in-state processing so that Montana farmers benefit from a strong marketplace.