Six months after the approval of the Agricultural Act of 2014, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack reported significant progress with farm bill implementation. “Thousands of farmers and ranchers have received critical disaster assistance, innovative new conservation programs are up and running, new risk management programs for producers are available with more tools to come, the new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research has been incorporated, and much more,” he said in an August statement. Progress has been made in all 12 titles of the bill.
Farmers should watch for notices from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) on their current base acres, yields and 2009-2012 planting history, according to FSA Administrator Juan Garcia. “We’re sending these reports to make sure that farmers and ranchers have key information as they make critical decisions about programs that impact their livelihood,” he said. If an error is found in the reports, growers should contact their local FSA county office immediately. Report accuracy will be an important step for producers enrolling in the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs.
Look for more Capitol Hill news in the September-October issue of U.S. Canola Digest. Check out the magazine’s new look, too!
A video produced by Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences shows aerial footage of winter canola in Odessa. It reports an increase in acreage in eastern Washington (from 15,000 acres in 2012 to 45,000 acres in 2014) and highlights the benefits of growing canola in the region, such as increased yield of cereal crops and improved weed control.
Researchers at The University of Western Australia have identified heat-responsive genes that are responsible for crop flowering time in Australian spring-type and European summer-type canola. This could aid in understanding the impact of increasing global temperatures on crop flowering. "With increasing global temperatures, or in low rainfall environments, it will be possible to 'mix and match' forms of these heat genes to achieve the target flowering date,” said Professor Wallace Cowling, lead researcher.
Foodservice operators are preparing for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s move to phase out partially hydrogenated oils, a major source of trans fat in food, by switching to more healthful, higher stability oils such as high-oleic canola oil, reported Restaurant News. “These products are high in monounsaturates, low in polyunsaturates and provide for long shelf life and a clean, neutral flavor. Of equal importance, they contain zero grams of artificial trans fat per serving.”
Tasting Table’s new guide to preparing great fried chicken included this tidbit on selecting the right frying fat: “Keep things simple with a neutral oil, like canola.” The national food publication also suggested opting for a deep, heavy-bottomed pot and keeping two thermometers on hand – one for the oil and one to check the meat temperature.
The Mediterranean diet does not avoid fat – rather it incorporates healthy fats like canola oil, pointed out a column in Colorado’s Grand Junction Free Press. “Oils such as canola are healthy unsaturated oils that can lower the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol when used in place of butter and margarine.”
Oil for Alternative Use
A study spanning the western half of the U.S. is examining oilseeds such as canola for use as feedstock in jet fuel by both military and commercial aircraft, reported North Dakota’s Farm and Ranch Guide. Motivation to find renewable jet fuel increased when the U.S. Navy’s declared its goal to meet half of its energy needs with non-petroleum oil-based sources by 2020. Several states, including North Dakota where the research is based and farmers grow about 1 million acres of canola, have been working to meet that goal. Potential military contracts could provide increased financial security for producers in the region.
Latest Industry News
An international team of scientists have published the genome of canola in the journal Science, according to Science World Report. "This genome sequence opens new doors to accelerating the improvement of canola," said researcher Andrew Paterson. "We can use this knowledge to tailor the plant's flowering time, make it more resistant to disease and improve a myriad of other traits that will make it more profitable for production." The discovery may also help researchers develop canola varieties that are better suited to sustainable biodiesel production.
Market interest in non-genetically modified (GM) canola oil is growing due to consumer demands, despite the fact that canola oil is inherently non-GM, reported The Western Producer. As with other oilseeds, the canola crop’s GM material is in the seed’s protein, not the extracted oil. Nonetheless, companies like Legumex Walker and Pleasant Valley Oil Mills said they do not have enough non-GM seed to meet the demand and are encouraging farmers to grow more.
Early registration closes Sept. 17 for the National Canola Research Conference Nov. 4-5, 2014 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. Scheduled presentations include: “Opportunities and Challenges for Developing an Oilseed to Renewable Jet Fuel Industry,” “Desiccant Effect on Canola Seed Moisture, Yield and Quality” and “Broadening of Genetic Diversity in Spring Canola.” Book your hotel room soon as spots quickly fill up.
The Northern Canola Growers Association is hosting its 18th Annual Canola Expo on Wednesday, Dec. 10 in Langdon, N.D. The keynote speaker this year is Jerry Gulke of the Gulke Group.
The 2015 PNW Oilseed and Direct Seed Conference will be Jan. 20-22, 2015 at Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick, Wash. More information is forthcoming.