The White House Office of Management & Budget completed its review of the canola renewable diesel pathway for the Renewable Fuel Standard proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency. The next step is for the agency to issue a notice or proposed rule for public comment, which could occur any day.
In March, Congress finally passed an omnibus appropriations package for fiscal year 2022. Enactment of new appropriations bills for FY22, rather than a Continuing Resolution for the year, is significant for canola interests. The agriculture appropriations portion of the omnibus includes the following canola priorities:
- $2 million for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA’s) Supplemental & Alternative Crops program, which funds the National Canola Research Program. This is a $1 million increase or doubling of funding above the previous year.
- Funding for the Sclerotinia Initiative is maintained at $2.4 million.
The omnibus appropriations package provides a 7 percent increase in domestic (non-defense) spending and the agriculture portion received a 6 percent increase. The legislation contains $3.5 billion for agricultural research, a $217 million increase from FY21. That total includes $1.6 billion each for the Agricultural Research Service, which was $142 million above FY21. NIFA, which funds outside research through universities and other entities, was also funded at $1.6 billion, an increase of $67 million over FY21. The bill would provide $550 million in additional funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for rural broadband. Some $487 million would go to its ReConnect grant and loan program. The FY22 funding is in addition to the $2 billion earmarked for ReConnect under the bipartisan infrastructure law enacted last fall.
In March meetings with their Mexican and Canadian counterparts, officials from the U.S. Trade Representative office again emphasized the need for a science-based process and determinations for biotech crop traits in accordance with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Mexico has not approved any new agricultural biotech traits since 2018, creating a bottleneck that is now blocking canola traits as well as dozens of other traits for corn, soybeans, potatoes and apples.
The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) urged action to avert further supply chain disruptions with Canada in a letter with 20 major agricultural organizations to President Joe Biden. It asks him to engage with Canadian leaders to avert a railway labor strike and rescind or modify cross-border vaccine mandates that would further disrupt the movement of agricultural products.
A new tool is available for growers to assess the risk of pod shattering in their canola cultivars. It helps producers make better harvest timing decisions, analyze crop losses and understand their options if they choose to delay harvesting. The tool works by using two designated checks, 45H33 and L255PC, which anchor the numerical/descriptive claim based on seed provider data. The “seeds” in the graph depict a greater potential for pod shattering at low ratings. They do not represent the exact amounts of seeds that could shatter out, rather the relative trend in shatter risk.
Why is canola oil healthier than other cooking oils? It contains the most alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 fat, which “helps protect the heart through its effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation,” according to India.com. ALA is essential to include in the diet because the human body does not make it on its own. Canola oil has a light texture and neutral taste.
CP Rail and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference have restarted Canadian Pacific Railway operations after agreeing to binding arbitration, ending work stoppage on March 22. The shutdown caused canola crush plants in Western Canada to scale back operations, which caused plants to “experience preventions and delays in executing customer contracts,” according to the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association.
Canola production estimates are expected to continue to drop, according to the USDA. This decrease is due to weather challenges in South America and global tensions due to the war in Ukraine. The latest estimate says that U.S. canola oil imports decreased to 3.98 billion pounds, 0.42 billion pounds less than last year due to the lower supply in Canada.
Manitoba farmer Les Wedderburn reported a robbery of 1,600 bushels of canola valued at $40,000 after he noticed a pick-up truck leaving his property. He is now investing in a full security system and warning other farmers in the area.
The Energy Information Administration added new forecasts of renewable diesel and other biofuels to its Short-Term Energy Outlook. Renewable diesel contributes to renewable volume obligations for biomass-based diesel under the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard. As a result, the administration expects U.S. production capacity of renewable diesel to nearly triple by the end of 2023, which will cause the demand for canola to rise significantly.
Mike Jubinville, agricultural commodity analyst with MarketsFarm, said that despite record values, underlying market factors continue to support prices for Canadian canola. World vegetable oil stocks are getting tight due to the closure of major export routes in the Black Sea and the war in Ukraine is causing canola prices to rise. But Jubinville noted “there’s a great deal of underlying support to the market.”
The Pacific Northwest Canola Association released a new video “Canola in the Pacific Northwest: From Farm to Table,” which explains what canola is and how it is grown and processed into food and feed products at the Viterra expeller crushing facility in eastern Washington. It is available on YouTube and PNWCA and USCA websites. It was funded by the USCA and Viterra North America.
The USCA held its spring board and membership meeting online March 7. As of April 2022, new producer directors Jeff Mortenson (MN) and Karen Everett Jones (OK) will replace longtime director Rob Rynning (MN) and Tyson Good (KS). A special in-person meeting will be in Minot, N.D., July 7-8 and the autumn board meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., Nov. 9-11. Details forthcoming on UScanola.com.
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