An Odd Trend in Wheat Country: Not Much Wheat
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Many wheat farmers facing low prices have turned this year to other crops, including chickpeas and lentils, in hopes of turning a profit.
This year's wheat crop of 45.7 million acres (18.49 million hectares) is the smallest since 1919 and it comes after a 2016 crop that was the least profitable in 30 years.
North Dakota, Montana and Nebraska are among the states with significantly fewer wheat acres. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says acres planted in chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are up nearly 86 percent from last year.
Lentils reached a U.S.-record 1.02 million acres (0.41 million hectares) planted this year. Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus. Lentils are increasingly used in cereal and pasta as a way to boost protein and fiber.