Halifax Co. Farmer Finally Sees Success With Chickpea Project

Halifax Co., VA - A Halifax County farmer is finally reaping what he's sown.

James Brown has been trying to grow chickpeas - a new crop for Southern Virginia - for more than a year. Last year's crop was a bust, but this year's yield proves that Brown just might be on to something.

When we first met farmer James Brown, he didn't know much about growing chickpeas.

Oh, the difference a year makes.

"They have a good size to them, and right many chickpeas to the plant. They turned out real good, " Brown said.

Earlier this week, agents from the Virginia State University Cooperative extension came to check out Brown's first successful crop since his initial attempt last year.

That first harvest was a bust, thanks to rainy weather and some hungry crows.

"I had my gun with me. I shot at them a couple times. Looks like when I go back, there were more crows down there, " Brown said, but this year, with better weather and the birds at bay, Brown's three acre harvest has been a success.

"First crop, they're not going to eat them. We're kind of going to experiment on them, " he said.

The Sabra plant in Chesterfield currently relies on chickpeas from the Midwest to make their hummus. They will study Brown's chickpeas to make sure they meet the company's quality control standards.

All involved are hoping a partnership between the two could be a win-win for the company and local producers hoping to cash in on a new crop.

"I think it will help the community and help other farmers. That's what I think, " said Brown.

Brown is one of two farmers Virginia State is working with to develop a chickpea market. He says the agents will be back in about two weeks to finish harvesting the rest of his crop.