The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released its Prospective Plantings report that estimated canola plantings at a record high 1.61 million acres in 2011, up 11 percent from 2010. Of the six major canola-producing states, acreage is predicted to increase in four, including North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma and Oregon. Oklahoma’s acreage is expected to increase by 64 percent and North Dakota is slated to plant a record high 1.4 million acres.
Congress is working on a new Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund government operations through the end of fiscal year 2011, focusing on 12 percent of the federal budget represented by domestic discretionary spending. The House passed a CR in February that would cut $5.2 billion from agriculture-related programs, including a 15 percent cut in research. On March 4, Congress and the President agreed on a two-week CR that expired on March 18 and cut $4 billion, then another three-week CR that cut an additional $6 billion, including $179 million from agriculture research by eliminating earmarks. The three-week CR expires on April 8 and the difference between the House Republicans and the Senate Democrats is now $51 billion. Failure to reach agreement will result in a government shutdown, except for essential services.