May is turning out to be "farm bill month” in Congress. Although not officially on the schedules yet, the Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to mark up its bill the week of May 6th and the House Agriculture Committee the week of May 13th. And last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his intentions to consider the 2013 Farm Bill on the floor of the Senate in late May.
A decision made in February 2013 by the Oregon Department of Agriculture to open up 2,500 acres of land in the Willamette Valley for canola production is now being challenged. As reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting, a coalition of local farmers has filed a lawsuit with the Oregon Court of Appeals due to concern about canola cross-pollinating with other Brassica species in the valley such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage. In the meantime, researchers are investigating the risk of canola co-mingling with related crops.
Winter canola is gaining ground with Oklahoma wheat producers as a rotational crop, in part due to efforts by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. The Lawton Constitution reports that a field day featuring experts from Oklahoma State University (OSU) included “tips on preparation, planning and growing the crop to its full advantage despite continued drought conditions, along with the spraying of herbicides to prevent damage from diseases and insects.” Josh Bushong, an OSU canola specialist, says that the crop’s success can be attributed to “the greater variety of herbicide options against insects and diseases along with higher market prices.”
Food Network star Ellie Krieger, M.S., R.D., breaks down the difference between unsaturated fats in her April 18 blog “Delicious, Meet Healthy.” Host of “Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger” on the Cooking Channel, she cites canola oil as a good source of monounsaturated fat that is essential to a healthy diet. She also has hyperlinks to brunch recipes made with canola oil.
Krieger is also the face of CanolaInfo’s “Mother’s May the Healthy Way” campaign. The campaign includes recipes she felt were “elegant yet easy-to-make dishes for families to show mom how truly appreciated she is.” Each heart-warming recipe contains less than 400 calories per serving and is low in saturated fat. The recipe collection was reported on by Yahoo!, Marketwatch, Reuters and The Boston Globe within the first five days of the campaign launch.
Oil for Fuel
Canola oil as a biofuel is not new, but now it is being considered along with cannabis as a feedstock for jet fuel. AOL Travel reports that KLM Dutch Airlines is operating a flight a week between New York and Amsterdam on biofuel made with used cooking oil. While the process of making cooking oil like canola oil into jet fuel is still expensive and complicated, it is making strides because "passengers are increasingly interested in things they can do to reduce their impact on the environment,” notes Steve Csonka, executive director of Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative.
Latest Regional News
The farmlands of Oklahoma have long been dominated by wheat, but it is about to become canola country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service last fall estimated Oklahoma would harvest 130,000 acres of canola in 2012, producing 182 million pounds of canola seed. That production is second only to North Dakota, according to the High Plains Journal. Enid, Okla. will be the home of a new canola processing facility. Once it opens in a few years, it will have the capability to crush 760,000 tons of canola per year.
The Southwest Farm Press Daily reports that more Oklahoma farmers are turning to winter canola as an alternative to winter wheat. After the canola processing plant in Enid opens, Northstar Agri Industries President Neil Juhnke predicts rapid expansion of canola production with the potential for 1.5 million to 2 million acres in north Texas, Oklahoma and southern Kansas.
The town of Clarksville, Tenn. now has over 300 acres of canola, according to The Leaf Chronicle. Farmer Jimmy Bell says the advantage of growing canola is that it uses the same equipment as wheat, which he already grows. “As long as the price of canola is profitable, we will continue to grow it,” he says.
About Canola Worldwide
Food Navigator-USA.com reports that Toronto-based BioExx will close its Saskatoon canola protein plant, but it is in “advanced” talks with a European company for a joint venture. BioExx CEO Chris Schnarr told analysts that the Saskatoon plant wasn’t financially viable and that a much larger manufacturing facility for canola protein will be needed to bring this “new source of protein to the world.” Preliminary engineering of a European plant has already been completed.
After three years of import restrictions on Canadian canola, China is allowing an additional oilseed crushing plant to accept shipments of Canadian canola seed. China has granted this access on a trial basis, while the Canadian and Chinese governments work out a long-term plan, according to Reuters. “Canada has now been granted access to three additional Chinese plants over the last few months, giving it additional access to a combined 1 million tonnes of crushing capacity,” says Patti Miller, president of the Canola Council of Canada.
Olympia Oils has unveiled a brand of canola oil in Lahore, Pakistan. This coincides with recent studies showing that Pakistanis want to become more health conscious, according to the Pakistan Observer. Purile Premium Canola Oil was launched with the middle class in mind to “spread health and happiness by improving the quality of life with healthy and pure canola oil,” says Mian Naseer Monnoo, managing director of Olympia Oils Limited.
The southernmost province of Jeonnam, South Korea invites people to stop and smell the flowers—canola flowers that is. The fifth annual Cheongsando Slow Walking Festival is one of the country’s first spring celebrations of the year and the goal is to get people out in nature to forget about stresses of city life. The festival includes paths lined with yellow canola flowers with ocean views.