With International Women’s Day approaching on March 8, 2021, we are proud to feature and celebrate women currently working in agriculture.
Rachael Long didn’t know “beans about beans” until she began working with a colleague on nutrient management in bean production, which ultimately helped plant the seed for her career in the dry bean industry.
Taylor Pires, Marketing Coordinator at AC&C, recently interviewed Rachael about her experience working in the bean industry. Read the interview below.
AC&C: What is your role in the bean industry?
Rachael: I’m a UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor in the Sacramento Valley and I conduct studies on dry bean production. I look for ways to grow beans more sustainably by developing varieties that resist pests and diseases.
AC&C: How did you get involved in the bean industry?
Rachael: I didn’t know beans about beans until I worked with a colleague on nutrient management in bean production and when I found out that beans produce their own nitrogen for plant growth, I was hooked!
AC&C: What do you most enjoy about working in the bean industry?
Rachael: I love all the different types of beans with their interesting shapes, colors, and sizes. I also like working with farmers that grow beans because they really care about their soil!
Beans are so good for our soil because they’re nitrogen-fixing plants!
AC&C: What do you envision for the future of the bean industry?
Rachael: I think the trend is there for lots of new products that use beans, especially plant-based meats. Beans are a great source of inexpensive protein!
AC&C: What are three things you want bean consumers to know?
Rachael: 1) Beans are good for our diet, 2) Healthy for our planet as they are sustainably grown, and 3) They taste good.
AC&C: What is your favorite bean variety and why? Favorite recipe?
Rachael: I like garbanzo beans because they’re great for salad garnishes and I love hummus.
AC&C: Anything we should know about what’s next for the bean industry?
Rachael: We are working hard to develop varieties of pest and disease-resistant beans through natural selection (no Genetically Modified Organisms) to ensure that beans continue to be grown sustainably with few chemical inputs.
Photo: Rachael Long evaluating blackeyes (cowpea) varieties for pest and disease resistance in Colusa County, CA, wearing a National Onion Association hat (she works with onions too!)