Capitol Hill

Agronomy

Nutrition

Oil for Alternative Uses

Latest Industry News

About USCA and CCC

 


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Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest


Capitol Hill

The proposed FY 2015 federal budget will assist beginning, small and disadvantaged farmers and ranchers as well as fund infrastructure projects throughout rural America, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on March 4. “The budget focuses on creating jobs and building a foundation for future economic growth, particularly in rural America, where 85 percent of our nation’s persistent poverty counties are located,” he explained. Also relevant to agriculture, the budget targets investments in bio-based product manufacturing, local and regional food systems, specialty crops and organic production. Vilsack applauded the 2015 budget proposal’s overarching goal to “create jobs and drive long-term, sustainable economic growth in rural America, while equipping our farmers and ranchers with the tools they need to survive and thrive.”

During its annual membership and board of directors meeting in Washington, D.C., March 19-21, the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) voted to join two food industry coalitions: the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance and Coalition for Safe Affordable Food. The U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance, established in 2012, includes biotechnology providers; seed, grain and oilseed producers; grain handlers, feed manufacturers, grain processors and millers; exporters and other end-users. Its mission is to improve and establish the introduction, stewardship, domestic and international regulatory policy and distribution of biotech commodities and products that include them. The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food was created to promote federal legislation that establishes standards for the voluntary labeling of food and beverage products made with biotech or non-biotech ingredients. It would also require U.S. Food and Drug Administration consultations on the safety of all biotech traits. Finally, it would preempt any state-based biotech labeling laws in order to prevent a patchwork of inconsistent state laws that would be confusing and unworkable. 


Agronomy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will disperse close to $3 million to farmers and ranchers to improve the health of pollinators, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The future security of America's food supply depends on healthy honey bees," he said. "Expanded support for research, combined with USDA's other efforts to improve honey bee health, should help America's beekeepers combat the current, unprecedented loss of honey bee hives each year." The funding will promote conservation practices that provide honey bees with nutritious pollen and nectar while also benefiting the environment. The program is targeting Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. 

Despite obstacles with crop insurance during the government shutdown in October 2013, farmers in the southwest have a healthy start to the 2014 winter canola crop, according to Great Plains Canola Association agronomist Heath Sanders. He explained this year's crop has a healthier stand than last year's and despite its rough appearance right now, the growth points are still alive. Gene Neuens, a Producers Cooperative Oil Mill oilseed representative, said farmers were afraid to plant more acreage during the shutdown because they were unsure if crop insurance would be available.


Nutrition

"Canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of canola plants, not rapeseeds," explained Prevention magazine as part of a prominent feature to help set the record straight on this and other internet nutrition myths. Rapeseed oil contains high levels of erucic acid, whereas canola oil by definition must contain less than 2 percent, the article continued. "They're distinctly different - nutritionally and compositionally."

For some, canola oil's advantages may come as a surprise. The Huffington Post, citing a number of foods with "unexpected" cardiovascular benefits, touted canola oil as a heart-healthy oil that is more versatile than olive oil due to its neutral taste and light texture. Importantly, the publication noted, canola oil has the least amount of saturated fat among common cooking oils and may reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fat.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietitians of Canada recently advised increasing consumption of omega-3 fats from sources like canola oil, fatty fish, chia seeds, walnuts and flax seeds. The new guidelines also recommended consuming monounsaturated fat, found in canola oil as well, avoiding trans fat and limiting saturated fat. Canola oil is trans fat-free and has the least saturated fat out of all common cooking oils.

Listen up, guys! Men's Journal named canola oil one of the healthiest cooking oils. Dr. Don Hensrud, a nutrition specialist at the Mayo Clinic, pointed out that canola oil is low in saturated fat, contains a significant amount of healthy monounsaturated fat and provides omega-3 fat. Canola oil's neutral taste and versatility in the kitchen also make it a smart choice. With its high smoke point, canola oil is preferred for high-temperature cooking.


Oil for Alternative Uses

Despite the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to reduce renewable fuel volumes, the biodiesel industry will continue to grow, but more slowly, according to a Rabobank report. "Increases in biodiesel production will bolster demand for soy oil, corn oil, canola oil, yellow grease, and palm oil," it said. "Because demand for biodiesel is enforced by legislation, the normal laws of supply are blurred." While the EPA's plan to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard mandate will not impact biodiesel as much as other categories, still biodiesel producers worry any reduction will stifle industry growth. For more background on the agency's proposal and how it impacts canola, read "Fueling Up for a Fight" in the March-April 2014 U.S. Canola Digest.

Latest Industry News

Cibus Global, a precision gene editing firm, received plant novel trait approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada for its first commercial sulfonylurea-tolerant canola. This product offers a non-biotech alternative to weed control. The herbicide-tolerant system controls weeds such as pigweed and is good for rotating with glyphosate-resistant soybeans.

Canola oil is gaining popularity with American food processors, according to Food Business News and Food Navigator USA. "Canola is now the second largest oil by volume in the U.S. food industry," says David Dzisiak, commercial leader, grains and oils, Dow AgroSciences. Specifically, Dow AgroSciences' omega-9 canola oil has surged 250 percent since 2011 as food manufacturers turn to healthier oil alternatives. The oil has a long shelf-life, zero trans fats and a long fry-life, making it appealing to the food production industry.

Kansas State University's River Valley Research and Extension District hosted a Winter Canola Risk Management School on March 13 in Concordia, Kan. Landowners attended the meeting to learn about the potential in growing canola, especially with the growing demand for canola oil for cooking. Kansas State put together a magazine about producer experiences with winter canola for those interested in the crop. There is also an upcoming National Canola Research Conference Nov. 2-5, 2014, in Long Beach, Calif. Register for the event here.

According to Oil World, world exports of canola will fall to a three-year low for the first half of 2014 due to Canada's inability to match the demand. The global shipments between January and June will be 7.4 percent less than 2013. Oil World said Canada does not have enough rail cars to move the increased crop supplies, causing buyers to look to other countries, such as Australia.


About USCA and CCC

John Haas, a long-time USCA producer board member from Larned, Kan., announced his retirement from the board at the annual meeting on March 21. First elected in 2001 to represent the Great Plains region, Haas long worked to promote winter canola. During his tenure, he witnessed the growth of the crop from a few hundred acres to nearly 400,000 acres for the 2014 crop year in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Colorado. Tyson Good, a producer from Dodge City, Kan., was elected to fill out the remaining two years of Haas's term. 

The U.S. Canola Association hosted its 10th annual Canola on Capitol Hill reception on March 20. Approximately 400 people attended to enjoy the 1940s band Swing Speak and classic comfort foods featuring canola oil.


 

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