Canola Quick Bytes
A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest
On July 23, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (HR 1599) passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 275 to 150. The legislation introduced by Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) aims to replace a costly and confusing 50-state patchwork of labeling laws with a national, voluntary one regarding foods derived from modern biotechnology. It would exempt such foods from special labeling unless they pose a health or safety risk. The bill also sets criteria for biotech-free and natural labels. HR 1599 now goes to the Senate, which is working on its own version.
The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, which advocates for uniform food labeling solutions, summarized the history and purpose of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act in a July 24 blog post on the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) website. “This legislation will create a consumer-friendly, science-based, uniform food labeling framework for products produced using genetically modified ingredients,” the coalition, including the USCA, stated. “[It] brings transparency and consistency to an area of food labeling where it is urgently needed.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed on June 10 new renewable fuel percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, biodiesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel produced or imported in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In a July 24 letter to EPA Administrator Regina McCarthy, U.S. Canola Association President Jeff Scott urged the EPA to support biodiesel volumes of at least 2 billion gallons for 2016 and 2.3 billion gallons for 2017.
On July 28, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a three-month highway spending bill before breaking for recess, forcing the Senate to agree to the short-term measure to avoid a lapse in funding. The new measure extends funding through Oct. 29. The Hill reported that “the two chambers have been battling over rival highway bills for a week, with the House preferring a five-month extension approved earlier this month over the Senate’s bill, which would fund roads and other infrastructure projects for three years.”
The Canadian honeybee industry
is thriving, reported The Globe and Mail
July 22. Stating statistics that there are record high honeybee colonies, increased honey production and improved bee survival rates, the article dispelled myths about the mass demise of bees. It also noted the ban on neonicotinoid seed treatment products has adversely affected canola crops in Europe and recent legislation restricting the use of these valuable products in Ontario ignores “a growing pile of credible science.” A local farmer in the story “predicts the curb on neonics use will make things worse for the environment, not better, because farmers will have to apply several rounds of pesticides instead of none.”
Scientific advances in understanding the nutritive power of dietary fiber may be the key to unlocking a greater use of canola meal for livestock feed. AG Professional reported July 10 that through specialized plant breeding to produce yellow seeds and utilizing new dehulling options and enzyme formulations, canola meal’s nutrients can be better digested by monogastric animals such as pigs and poultry. In addition to canola meal’s high content of protein, amino acids, carbohydrates, selenium and phosphorous, better harnessing its dietary fiber could be the industry’s “X factor,” noted Bogdan Slominski, Ph.D., of the University of Manitoba at the International Rapeseed Congress that took place July 5-9 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Minnesota canola acres jumped 36 percent in 2015, reported the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in June. In 2014, there were 14,000 acres of canola planted statewide, while 19,000 acres were planted in 2015. Although canola plantings were down in much of the U.S. (from about 1.71 million acres in 2014 to 1.57 million in 2015), Minnesota showed the greatest increase, with North Dakota’s acreage also increasing by 2.5 percent.
North Dakota State University Extension hosted its annual Canola Day on June 30, bringing together canola growers to discuss production and the industry. As noted by local station KFYR-TV, North Dakota is the largest producer of canola in the U.S., making it difficult for farmers to keep up with demand. Topics covered included tips for dealing with weather, pests and other production challenges. Barry Coleman, executive director of the Northern Canola Growers Association, said, “It’s good for the growers to see what’s going on in the current year and to provide feedback to the extension personnel here on what they’re seeing out in their fields.”
The Northern Canola Growers Association held its Annual Canola Research Tour at Langdon Research Extension Center on July 16, bringing together 100 area canola producers to hear from researchers on topics ranging from groundwater management to clubroot. The center’s ongoing research is focused on new herbicide treatments and traits, microbial treatments, canola diseases, swathing and row spacing.
Kansas State University Research and Extension will host two pre-plant canola risk management schools. The first will be Aug. 5 in Wichita at the Sedgwick County Extension Center. The second will be Aug. 6 in Garden City at the Southwest Research-Extension Center. K-State canola breeder Mike Stamm told Midwest Producer that these in-depth educational opportunities will “give new and experienced producers the information needed to make an informed decision about planting winter canola this fall.” Topics will include planting dates, insect management, winter survival, on-farm establishment research and marketing.
Oklahoma State University (OSU) welcomed Josh Lofton, Ph.D., as assistant professor and cropping systems specialist July 31. Lofton, an Oklahoma native, comes to OSU from Louisiana State University where he served as a crops extension specialist at the Macon Ridge Research Station and also earned his doctorate. His appointment at OSU is 75 percent extension and 25 percent research, and his program will focus on cropping systems and canola production.
Marinades are key to great grilling because they boost flavor and tenderize foods, said registered dietitian Katherine Brooking in a U.S. News and World Report article on MSN.com. No matter the recipe, she added, “I prefer canola oil as my base because its light texture and neutral flavor mixes perfectly with the other ingredients.”
The New York Times‘s Sam Sifton recommended canola oil as a healthy, versatile vegetable oil in his column, “Hey, Mr. Food Editor.” Dismissing Internet rumors about the “dangers” of the oil, he noted that health experts and the Food and Drug Administration consider it beneficial. “With a high smoke point and neutral flavor, it is my go-to oil for sautéing and light frying,” he concluded.
A cardiologist on About.com highlighted five sources of heart-healthy and delicious fats, noting canola oil is “top of the list” for oils with monounsaturated fat and has a high smoke point. “So if you’re looking for a sturdy, healthy cooking oil, this is the one for you,” the doctor said.
Other Country News
Cargill recently opened a canola oil refinery in Clavet, Saskatchewan, which is now its largest in North America. It can process 1 billion pounds of both regular and high-oleic canola annually. The plant will be the largest integrated crush and refining facility in the world, noted Cargill Vice President Scott Portnoy to CBC News Saskatchewan. In addition, Cargill announced the opening of another canola crush plant in Camrose, Alberta on July 20.
Canterra Seeds of Winnipeg, Manitoba recently introduced the most comprehensive clubroot-resistant canola hybrid (CS2000), which was bred by DL Seeds. It resists the latest strain of the 5X clubroot pathogen, which was discovered near Edmonton in 2013. According to The Western Producer, existing clubroot-resistant varieties are only resistant to the more prevalent 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8 collections of pathogens.
Researchers from Charles Sturt University discovered Australian canola contains significant amounts of lutein, a bioactive compound with the potential to help prevent macular degeneration in the eyes. The Border Mail reported July 11 that the discovery is part of the first study of Australian canola’s nutrient composition. Other bioactive compounds are being explored to enhance the nutritional value of canola oil.
Latest Industry News
In an industry first, Cargill
will begin mapping all aspects of its North American high-oleic canola supply chain
in a new project named “Knowing Your Roots: From Farm to Table.” As more consumers take an interest in where their food comes from, Cargill’s role as the only major high-oleic canola oil supplier that is also a seed company allows for greater transparency and traceability. Launching Oct. 1, the program will walk customers and consumers through the entire supply chain – from canola farmers to oil processing and packaging to end users.
Fortune 100 farmer-owned cooperative and global energy, grains and food company CHS, Inc. is purchasing the PICO Northstar Hallock LLC canola plant in Hallock, Minn., for $127 million, according to the July 15 AGWeek. The plant was completed in 2012 for about $165 million, with PICO Holdings owning 87.7 percent and Northstar Founders LLC owning 12.3 percent. The plant was built to handle 1,000 tons of canola per day, which expanded to 1,400 tons a day.
In related news, city officials in Enid, Okla. announced that Northstar Agri Industries decided to not move forward with plans to build a canola plant in town and is instead looking to sell the land. Enid mayor Bill Shewey was quoted in the June 29 Enid News & Eagle: “The canola plant has decided the two years with the drought and the lack of the amount of canola they need to make the plant work, was not sufficient.”
A long-standing Oklahoma City canola oil processor is set to move operations to nearby Altus, Okla., according to KSWO-TV. The Producers Cooperative Oil Mill shut down production in April and is currently looking for a buyer of its 37-acre property. The company has already purchased land in Altus and will reduce its workforce from 80 to 12 employees.
Bayer CropScience donated $40,000 to 10 non-profit organizations selected by U.S. canola growers as part of an ongoing partnership. This year’s “More for Everyone” award funds will go toward purchasing new volunteer firefighter rescue equipment, outfitting a retreat and camp center with new snowshoes and ice skates, repairing and updating two American Legion posts, and helping various other organizations.
About the USCA
Mark your calendars! Now’s the time to register and make arrangements to attend the USCA Board of Directors’ meeting
at Hotel Mazarin in New Orleans Nov. 9-11, 2015.
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For deeper discussions of key issues impacting the U.S. canola industry, visit the new USCA blog.