What’s in a name? A lot.
To that end, the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association will now be known as the Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers.
“Since soybeans are not a true pulse, we figured this was a good way to go,” said executive director Francois Labelle as he announced the change at CropConnect in Winnipeg last week. “The idea of including soybeans into our name has long been discussed at the board table… they have become a large part of our business through increased acres and sales.”
It’s a big change from when the association was first founded in 1984, said president Kyle Friesen.
In the early days of the producer organization, peas and beans were the driving force behind research and revenue.
“The roles have kind of reversed between soybeans and edible beans over time. Back in the late 1990s, or early 2000s, edible bean revenues really supported a lot of the work to get soybeans adopted and generally accepted in Manitoba,” said Friesen, adding that soybeans now provide about 85 per cent of the organization’s revenue.
Roughly 60 per cent of total revenue goes back into soybean research.
“There’s a lot of work to be done on soybeans, because it’s still a new crop; growers still need information, we need to get regional research done,” Friesen said. “Some of it we can extrapolate from North Dakota, or from Iowa, but there is a lot of stuff we need to do locally.”
As soybeans became more prominent in the organization, the old name was also beginning to cause some confusion, he said. The president noted that outside of Manitoba, industry was sometimes unclear as to why the Pulse Growers was representing soybeans.
“Over the years, the demographics of our membership have changed. There is a lot more soybeans being grown today, so we wanted to change our name to properly reflect our membership,” Friesen said. “A lot of times, when we’re going outside of Manitoba… people did question why it was Manitoba Pulse Growers representing soybeans. So to have better representation of our membership to industry and other organizations, we thought this was the best course of action.”
But while they wanted a new name, Labelle said they didn’t want to lose the history of the organization. Keeping “Manitoba Pulse” in the name was important to members, he said.
There were also practical considerations, such as not having to register a new domain name for the organization’s website.
However, a new logo has been developed, one that shows a bean seed sprouting to represent growth, said the executive director. The existing green colour scheme will remain.
Given the organization has been around for more than three decades, Labelle said it only makes sense to update and rebrand.
“I can tell you that 31 years ago, we had a lot of discussion about what it should be called, whether it should be called the pea and bean association and so on. It was hard to agree on the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association then,” he said, before adding with a laugh, “It was simple this time, only a couple of fist fights in the boardroom, and we were able to get this name.”