PIERRE, S.D. - Officials in three Canadian provinces and six northern U.S. states are launching an effort to brand the region as the potential provider of protein to the world.

The "Protein Highway" effort aims to encourage scientists to work together on protein-rich crops.

The goal is to generate research to aid farmers and help entrepreneurs take new food products to market.

Researchers say that high-protein pulse crops such as lentils, dry beans and dry peas have great potential throughout the region, which encompasses Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta and the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Montana and Iowa south of the border.

Obstacles include a lack of processing facilities and the need to convince the government to offer insurance for new crops.