The authors look at the early history of Nebraska's dry bean industry from initial (and low-yielding) production in 1895 to its growth through marketing contracts and new processing facilities in the mid 1930s.
Rollins Emerson, who became a world renowned corn geneticist, should first be recognized as the catalyst for developing the Nebraska dry bean industry. This article is one in a series by UNL faculty at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center exploring dry bean and yellow pea production in Nebraska, as part of 2016, the International Year of the Pulses.
While native Americans had been eating dry beans for years, dry beans weren't commercially produced in the US until well into the 19th century. With a boost from Civil War military consumption in the 1860s, the industry grew and developed to become the global food supplier it is today. Nebraska ranks first in the nation in production of dry northern beans and fourth in overall dry bean production.