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Idaho dry bean harvest underway

WEISER--Daybreak on Winegar farms outside of Weiser and its a big day. It’s the farm's first harvest of the season and the first harvest of dry beans.

"So this is the first year we have grown beans. This is a field of black beans. Prices on everything else were not that good here and they came to us for a contract and it seemed like it was fairly lucrative, and we decided that we try and grow some. We grew some black beans and some kidneys, so today we are cutting our black beans," said Tristan Winegar.

Black beans that were contracted before the season and have turned into a much-needed hedge crop.

"The good thing is that we had the machines to do it and do it right. If we didn't have that we wouldn't have grown them. We're used to growing corn in our rotation when we rotate out alfalfa and other crops and this gives us more diversity and helps us in the long run, and they were fun to grow," added Winegar.

Dry beans started going up last year, and with the rise of COVID, continued to rise. According to the USDA dry beans are fetching over 30-dollars per hundred weight…thats a 40 percent price hike and the perfect hedge for farmers this year.

"Since it was my first year, we only did average. Prices were still good and will pay us better than corn would have. The inputs for beans are much lower and they pay more. The difference is what makes the difference," said Winegar. "Corn might pay more per acre but it costs a lot more to put it in and to grow it."

As Idaho farmers struggle to make ends meet, crops like dry beans might make the difference between breaking even and ending up in the red.