The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) was active last summer in urging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to increase biomass-based diesel and advanced volumes and accurately account for small refinery hardship exemptions in the annual Renewable Fuel Standards. We thanked the 39 senators who sent a letter to the EPA in support of these goals. A special shout-out goes to Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for leading the letter along with Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and John Hoeven (R-ND) for signing on.
With the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 on Sept. 30, time will run out on the Agricultural Act of 2014. Major programs, including crop insurance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), will continue because they are permanently authorized and funded. The 2014 Act also provides funding through the marketing year for 2018 program crops, but the dairy program will expire at the end of December. While the Conservation Reserve Program is permanently funded, its authority will lapse in October, meaning that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will honor existing contracts but not be able to enter into new ones. Read More »
NO EVIDENCE OF CANOLA OIL’S LINK TO ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE IN HUMANS
Small Study in Mice Does Not Negate Oil’s Safety and Healthfulness
WASHINGTON, DC — Independent scientists assure consumers that they can “forget” about misleading reports originating from a Dec. 7 study on canola oil and Alzheimer’s disease by Temple University researchers as the data do not support negative claims about the oil. The links between canola oil and weight gain, worsened memory and dementia in humans suggested by this 22-mouse study are unfounded, notes the non-profit U.S. Canola Association. Here’s why:
The U.S. Canola Association cautions consumers about the misinterpretation of results in the study, “Effect of canola oil consumption on memory, synapse and neuropathology in the triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease,” by Elisabetta Lauretti and Dominico Pratico at Temple University. It was published Dec. 7 in Scientific Reports – an online, open access journal.
The study was conducted using a mouse model; it was not a human clinical trial. Specifically, mice were genetically engineered to develop three characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease (AD): memory impairment, amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.
The 20th Annual Canola Expo of the National Canola Growers Association will be Tuesday, Dec. 5 in Langdon. It will feature one of the most engaging and powerful agricultural speakers in the country, Bruce Vincent, along with leading canola agronomists. Vincent is a compelling “tell-it-like-is” motivational speaker who has appeared on news shows such as “60 Minutes” and traveled the world speaking on agricultural issues. His keynote speech is entitled “With Vision, There is Hope.” Other presentations at the Canola Expo will address clubroot and other canola diseases, planting rates and cooking with canola oil. Grower will receive a free lunch and the opportunity to win door prizes.
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) elected former U.S. Canola Association (USCA) President Ryan Pederson last week to its governing board. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released on Nov. 30 the required volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2018-19: 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel for 2019, which is level with 2018 volume requirements and less than the 2.5 billion gallons the NBB and USCA were seeking. The NBB expressed disappointment with the flatline RFS volumes and missed opportunity to promote growth in biodiesel production. The USCA will continue to support the biodiesel industry’s efforts under the Trump administration, including pushing to have the biodiesel tax credit reinstated and included in a year-end tax extenders package, separate from the comprehensive tax reform bill.
As talks continue on the 2018 Farm Bill, the current state of the U.S. farm economy has prompted farm organizations to encourage the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to write the legislation in a way that helps farmers better respond to shifting market conditions. These tactics range in their scope and approach, but all involve the same concept: increased spending.
A mentor in graduate school would refer to every obstacle or challenge faced as an opportunity. Using his philosophy, the biodiesel industry has had its fair share of “opportunities” in 2017.
As a quick primer, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was signed into law a decade ago. It has been a significant market driver for expansion of the U.S. biodiesel industry. Under the statute, a minimum number of gallons of biodiesel to be blended into our nation’s energy supply will be determined on an annual basis. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is required to examine market factors outlined in the statute when making this decision and is expected to consult with the Secretaries of Agriculture and Energy.
Most farmers mark the passing years with references to crop years. “1977 was the year we were hailed out. 1988, now that drought had to rival those our elders suffered through during the Dirty Thirties. 1999, who knew prices could go so low! 2010, a bumper crop and great prices!”
The 2017 canola harvest in the Willamette Valley will be remembered as cold and wet – not ideal canola-growing conditions. But for regional canola growers, such conditions represent an important opportunity to grow a beneficial rotation crop.
The Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) has been hard at work over the past few years to expand research and initiatives supporting canola in the Northern Plains. It allocates a significant portion of its funds to public research in canola in areas of highest importance to growers.