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The state’s pulse crop industry employs an estimated 5,000 people in processing, growing or moving the crops, Cantwell said. Eastern Washington has about 1,000 farm families and 22 processors working in pulse crops.
The Farm Bill also provides $25 million per year over five years to study the health benefits of pulse crops.
Once those health benefits are established, the trade group said Washington state would double the acreage devoted to dry peas, lentils and chickpeas over the next decade.
Pulse crops have been around since biblical times, said Kim Murray, a Montana grower and group’s chair.
"In this day and age, we need scientific research and human studies to quantify just how healthy these crops promise to be," she said.
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