The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act” on April 21, a much anticipated proposed rule in the Federal Register to clarify the government’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. Despite assurances from the EPA and Corps that the new rule will not affect existing farming practices or previously converted wetlands, farmers are concerned that jurisdiction may be asserted over streams and existing drainage ditches as well as their surrounding watersheds. Such jurisdiction, if taken to the extreme and litigated successfully in the courts, could make the very act of farming -- practices such as fertilizer and pesticide applications -- subject to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. The comment period closes on July 21 and the U.S. Canola Association plans to submit comments. The Congressional Research Service released in late March a concise report on the issues surrounding the proposed rule.
In Washington state, farmers are dedicating more acreage to growing canola for the fourth year in a row, according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Farmers are expected to produce 45,000 acres of canola this year, up from 22 percent last year. There was some damage to the winter canola, however, and some farmers are still debating whether to plant spring canola.
New Mexico State University’s Agricultural Science Center at Clovis hosted a special field day about winter canola last month. "Winter canola has good potential in the region," said Sangu Angadi, crop stress physiologist at the center. "It is well adapted, requires less water and produces multiple products that are in demand locally." The Clovis Science Center is researching how to develop winter canola into an economically and agronomically viable alternative crop for the region.
Swapping out butter for canola oil is one of five small steps you can take for an “instantly” healthier diet, suggested EatingWell editors in a syndicated column. “Not all fat is bad,” the article noted. “Opt for unsaturated (e.g., olive or canola oil) over saturated fats, such as butter.”
On her talk show "Katie," Katie Couric featured Food Network star and registered dietitian Ellie Krieger cooking a recipe with canola oil from Krieger's new dinner-in-a-hurry cookbook, "Weeknight Wonders." "[You] put in a little olive oil?" Couric asked as Krieger pointed to some browned chicken during the demonstration. "A little bit of canola oil," Krieger clarified. "And that's a heart-healthy oil."
Help prevent diabetes with a healthy diet that includes unsaturated fats such as canola oil, advised a physician with the Cleveland Clinic. "Besides helping to prevent diabetes, the great thing about a healthy diet is that it's effective for controlling cholesterol and blood pressure too," the doctor wrote.
Whether you are a star athlete or new to the fitness scene, what you eat is just as crucial as exercise to overall health, particularly at decreasing the risk of heart disease, according to a British Medical Journal study, reported U.S. News and World Report. The online story also mentioned choosing sources of healthy, unsaturated fats, such as canola oil, avocadoes, nuts and seeds. "Get in the habit of cooking with olive or canola oil instead of butter," advised a registered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.
Oil for Alternative Uses
If you smell French fries while driving in Saskatchewan, you are not imagining things, reported CBC News. A provincial company is buying used canola oil from restaurants to settle dust on rural roads. "Used is a lot stickier than new, said Mark Hryniuk of Prairie Energy. "And it's a lot cheaper. We pay restaurants for it. Set up a container, vac it and there's a whole process. When it's all said and done, we find the used vegetable oil to be the best."
As states push for more biodiesel use, Canadian canola exports to the U.S. may increase, according to The Western Producer. California, for example, passed legislation requiring a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The state estimates using 800 million liters of canola biodiesel by then. Dennis Rogoza, sustainability adviser for the Canola Council of Canada, said canola biodiesel would be popular for the state since other types of renewable diesel would likely be too expensive.
Georgia-based bioplastics company Meredian is utilizing canola oil as the chief component of its biodegradable plastic products. The company has estimated a need for 100,000 acres of canola to operate its facility at capacity. Meridian says canola is a wise economic choice because the crop is planted locally and harvested twice a year [with spring and winter varieties].
Latest Industry News
According to the Wall Street Journal, Pacific Coast Canola entered into an agreement with Dow AgroSciences Canada Inc. to process NexeraTM canola and sell the brand's Omega-9 Quality Canola Oil. Canola growers under contract with Pacific Coast will receive seed from Dow AgroSciences and help develop programs to market Nexera canola to growers and Omega-9 oil to buyers.
The Vermont state legislature passed a bill in April that would require the labeling of biotech foods, according to Reuters. If signed by the governor, the law would be effective July 1, 2016, making Vermont the first state in the country to require biotech labeling. The bill would also make it illegal to describe any foods made with biotech ingredients as "natural" or "all natural."
Texas A&M hosted a 2014 Winter Canola Field Day, an educational program for industry experts, university researchers and producers. Dr. Clark Neely, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service oilseed specialist, indicated that Texas farmers are interested in winter canola to diversify their crop portfolio in a rotation.
The USCA Board of Directors approved 2014-18 U.S. canola yield and acreage goals proposed by the USCA's Canola Acreage Task Force on March 19. By 2018, the total proposed U.S. acreage goal is 3.7 million with a national yield goal of 1.8 million. The regional goals are all set to increase, with the Northern Plains starting at 1 million acres and increasing to 1.7 million by 2018; the Southern Great Plains moving from 400,000 to 1.5 million; the Pacific Northwest from 200,000 to 400,000 and the Southeast from 30,000 to 60,000 acres.
Registration is now open for the Nov. 4-5, 2014 National Canola Research Conference (NCRC) in conjunction with the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America's annual meetings in Long Beach, Calif. Book your hotel room soon as spots quickly fill up. Attendees of the NCRC are encouraged to submit abstracts to present oral and/or poster presentations about specific topics, including canola end uses and agronomy. Abstracts are due by June 6, and submissions before May 22 receive a $20 discount on the fee.