In 1997 a group of over 70 investors and bean growers in Northwest Kansas organized into an agricultural cooperative to improve their bottom line. What became Twenty First Century Bean Processing, LLC a few years later, now supplies over two-thirds of all the # 2 grade dry pintos, black-eyed peas, kidney, lentils, and northern white beans the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) distributes to food banks throughout the country.
“We have come a long way since the beginning,” said Ron Meyers, one of the original founders and current Director of Operations. “In 2001, the cooperative tried to tap into the retail sector by purchasing a bean packaging company in Amarillo, Texas. The growers would truck their beans down there for sorting and packaging, however the market entry obstacles were more significant than anticipated,” recalled Meyers.
Processing Closer to Home
The grower’s turning point came when they started selling their beans to the USDA’s... Read More