As a grain trader would profess, efficient and effective trade is based on the principal of fungibility, allowing for the substitution of grain from source to source as market conditions dictate. Since the introduction of biotech crops, growers and traders have both benefitted from increases in yield and overall productivity, however, the patchwork map of regulatory systems for biotech crops has created significant hurdles in maintaining this fungibility.
The 2016 canola harvest has all but wrapped up in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and it was another good year – fields averaged 3,000 pounds per acre and one grower exceeded 5,000 pounds per acre. But more importantly, it was another year of successful rotational crops for Willamette Valley farmers.
Interest in canola as a rotation crop in the cereal-dominated cropping systems of the Pacific Northwest continues to increase, particularly with depressed wheat prices, and with steady demand from the Pacific Coast Canola processing facility in Warden, Wash. The Crucifer Quarantine enacted last fall, however, has prompted many questions and requests for advice about blackleg from growers and industry. In response to concerns, faculty at the Washington State University-based Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems Project developed a handout to distribute at field tours. The guide includes concise information about the current status of blackleg in Washington, the Crucifer Quarantine requirements, scouting for blackleg, and photos of blackleg symptoms from fields in Idaho and Oregon.
While many policy matters are on idle as we enter the heat of summer and this election year, biodiesel policy issues are not slowing down.
On May 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the proposed rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements, including the volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2018 and the total advanced biofuels volumes for 2017 and 2018.
Over the last several thousand years, humans have taken a more active role in the evolution of plants by specifically saving and selecting seed from plants that looked, smelled or tasted particularly interesting. The result was the domestication of plants, making it easier to grow and harvest them and become better, more reliable and nutritious sources of food. This same process continues today, though in a more formalized way, using the science and art of plant breeding.
Canola research is more important than ever to the crop’s future. With this in mind, the Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) has awarded $220,000 so far in 2016 to help fund nine studies. Projects this year address disease identification and control in canola, primarily blackleg and sclerotinia. Additional research seeks to decrease production costs, increase quality of canola and identify end-use applications.
On Jan. 7, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services issued the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 (Eighth Edition). Happy New Year! That’s at least true for the minority of Americans currently meeting the guidelines and inspiration for the rest.
On Dec. 18, President Obama signed into law an omnibus appropriations bill and a package of tax provisions, both of which include items of significant interest and impact to farmers and the agricultural industry. Below is a summary of the two laws. The House of Representatives passed the tax package by a vote of 318-108 and the Omnibus Appropriations bill by a vote of 316-113; the Senate approved the package together with a vote of 65-33.
Pretend for a moment it is an early afternoon in the middle of July in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. I’m on my way to visit the honey bee “girls” in the field. They have been staying with us now for over two weeks and have settled into a predictable routine.
On Nov. 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Final Rule setting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements, including the volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The Final Rule sets the biomass-based diesel volumes at the following levels: