Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest


Capitol Hill

President Trump unveiled his 2020 fiscal year budget on March 11, which proposes a 15 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including $25.6 billion and $8.9 billion reductions to crop insurance and conservation programs, respectively. These proposed changes to mandatory programs would require opening the just passed 2018 Farm Bill, which Congress is unlikely to do. A summary of the proposed budget for USDA can be found here.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans development process is underway and the first public meeting was March 28. A public comment period also opened in March, which will remain open until the guidelines have been finalized.

The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) continues to work to reinstate the biodiesel tax credit. The $1 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel expired at the end of 2017 and hasn’t been picked up by either chamber since 2019 began. There are some bright spots and things to look out for as advocacy to restore the tax credits continues. Tom Hance of Gordley Associates has details in the USCA blog.

Agronomy

Canola production in North Dakota can’t be stopped. The top American canola growing state outdid itself in 2018, with 3.1 billion pounds, up 24 percent from 2017. “The (North Dakota) yields were very good, with some fields yielding 3,000 pounds or more per acre,” said Barry Coleman, executive director of the Bismarck, N.D.-based Northern Canola Growers Association, in AgWeek.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) predicts U.S. canola acreage in 2019 to be 1.9 million acres, a decrease of 4 percent, in its March 29 Prospective Plantings report. On a state level, North Dakota canola plantings are estimated at 1.6 million, down 1 percent; Montana at 140,000, up 17 percent; Washington at 75,000, up 7 percent; and Minnesota at 55,000, up 20 percent. Oklahoma planted 35,000 acres and Kansas 29,000 acres, down 50 and 38 percent respectively. The NASS discontinued reporting canola acreage surveys for Idaho and Oregon in 2019, even though Idaho planted 43,000 acres of canola in 2018.Photo by Karen Sowers

Nutrition

Canola oil is good for you and science once again proves it. A March study in the Journal of Nutrition looked at diets high in regular abs high-oleic canola oils and found positive effects on blood fats in adults with belly fat. According to Penn State University researchers and Canadian collaborators, these oils reduced total and bad cholesterol plus another blood component, thereby lowering risk of heart disease.

We don’t need to tell you why cooking with canola oil is the best, but NDTV of India reminded fans of the oil’s positive attributes in a blog. They include high monounsaturated fat, which can lower belly fat in place of other oils; high omega-3 fat and vitamin E content; and low unhealthy saturated fat.

Other Country News

Geopolitical tensions between Canada and China reached a fever pitch after Canada detained the Chinese national who is chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies. In retaliation, authorities in Beijing halted canola imports without explanation, noted Reuters. Days later, Chinese customs officers allegedly found “pests such as fungal pathogens in canola imports” and revoked canola seed export permits of Richardson International and Viterra of Canada, reported The Washington Post.

Canadian officials are calling all of this a game of political football as the country’s Agriculture Minister said no harmful pests or bacteria were found in exports. “The agricultural industry is the punching bag for global politics,” wrote farmer Toban Dyck in the Financial Post. “It’s the industry foreign countries target to get the attention of people whose daily lives are not immediately affected by drooping canola prices.”

Latest Industry News

A lawsuit against Monsanto went south after a jury unanimously found that the company’s glyphosate-based herbicide did contribute to a groundskeeper’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, reported The New York Times. The second phase of the case will determine whether the company is liable for his health. Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer AG last year, says there is evidence that Roundup is safe and will continue to fight against the claims. “… an extensive body of science supports the conclusion that Roundup was not the cause of his cancer,” Bayer stated. “Bayer stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them.”

Optimism for expanded canola production in Oregon is waning. A 500-acre restriction expires in July and the latest proposal that would have prevented cross-pollination between canola and other crops was deemed too complicated for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Canola advocates are frustrated that the restriction appears to be on track for renewal this year. “I struggle with how we cap a crop that’s a legal commodity, said Anna Scharf, Willamette Valley Oilseed Producers Association, told the Capital Press. “I haven’t seen the scientific reason yet.”

At the annual meeting of the Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA), Pat Murphy of Minot was re-elected board president, Dan Marquardt of Bottineau vice president and Tim Mickelson of Rolla treasurer. The NCGA board also welcomed new producer member Michael Brekhus of Kenmare and industry member Courtney Meduna, technical agronomist with Bayer CropScience,of Minot. The board thanked outgoing board member Zach Schaefer of Langdon.

About the USCA

The USCA, as a member of the Honey Bee Health Coalition, issued “Best Management Practices for Pollinator Health in Canola Fields” and a related news release. It is developing infographics and posters to inform the public, canola farmers and beekeepers about the practices.

Want to promote your products or services to canola producers and industry members? Visit the USCA advertising sections online to find specs, deadlines and rates to advertise in this monthly e-newsletter or on UScanola.com.

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