Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest


Capitol Hill

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent the U.S. Canola Association’s (USCA’s) proposal for canola oil renewable diesel to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for interagency review. It is for canola oil to be used not only in the production of renewable diesel, but also jet fuel, naphtha and liquid propane gas under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The OMB’s review should be completed within 90 days. If cleared, it will be published as a proposed rule with a public comment period (typically 60 days) on an analysis of the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) associated with these biofuels.

In January, the new USCA Biofuels Committee discussed various issues, including the RFS petition, California Low-Carbon Fuel Program and developing programs in Washington and Minnesota, state of GHG modeling and lifecycle analysis (GREET, EPA, ICAO, etc.), and sustainable aviation fuel tax credit eligibility criteria.

In public comments last week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack indicated the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin issuing disaster assistance payments this spring to producers impacted by drought, wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. Last September, Congress provided $10 billion for agricultural disaster assistance similar to the WHIP+ payments for 2018 and 2019. Vilsack said the payments would be split into two tranches, the first using information already on hand through Risk Management Agency (RMA) crop insurance records and the second tranche to fill in gaps and address quality losses. The RMA will coordinate with the Farm Service Agency to facilitate the payments.

The USCA joined more than 50 agricultural groups in signing an annual letter to the USDA and OMB urging that no cuts to crop insurance are implemented this year. The USCA also signed a letter to Congress with nearly 300 agricultural groups expressing opposition to legislation (S. 3283) calling for replacement of science-based standards used to determine the availability of safe and effective pesticides to produce America’s food, fiber and biofuel. The legislation would repeal decades of federal regulation and scientific progress, jeopardizing the availability and innovation of pesticide products by imposing an unscientific process that could unnecessarily remove pest control options.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) wrote U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai about enforcing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade. They raised concerns with several agricultural provisions, including Mexico’s lack of progress on biotech approvals, lack of a transparent science-based process for biotech determinations as well as barriers to U.S. potatoes and dairy products.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced the following USDA appointments:

  • Scott Marlow, deputy administrator for farm programs, Farm Service Agency
  • Tim Gannon, chief of staff for Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie
  • Andrea Delgado, chief of staff for the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment, a position to which Homer Wilkes has been nominated
  • Sara Bleich, director of nutrition security and health equity for the USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Agronomy

How can you protect canola yield potential? Research shows that pre-seed burn-off with herbicide is critical and the Canola Council of Canada recommends growers focus on early weed control for the most success. To improve weed control and reduce selection of herbicide-resistant weeds, it advises a tank-mix partner.

The Canola Council of Canada and other Canadian canola stakeholders are requesting letters for intent from university researchers, non-profit research institutions, and federal and provincial research organizations seeking research funding from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2028. The organizations hope to “build on the continued success of the Canola AgriScience Research Cluster in developing a fourth robust research program that aligns with priorities set out in the Next Agricultural Policy Framework and the Canola Innovation Strategy.” The deadline to apply is Monday, March 7, 2022, at 12 noon. Submissions should be e-mailed to Ellen McNabb at mcnabbe@canolacouncil.org.

Nutrition

Which is better: vegetable or canola oil? While both oils have a neutral taste and light texture, canola oil has additional health benefits, says Angela Pateman, marketing lead for Wesson brand oils. Canola oil is lower in bad saturated fat and higher in good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats compared to vegetable oil.

Other Country News

Federated Co-operative Limited (FCL) and AGT Foods announced they plan to build a $2 billion canola crush plant in Regina, Sask., Canada. The plant, which will crush 1.1 million tons of canola annually, will supply oil for FCL’s renewable diesel facility. AGT Foods CEO Murad Al-Katib says renewable diesel “can be a complete replacement for fossil-fuel diesel, so that’s significant and critical in terms of our commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low-carbon economy.” Premier Scott Moe says this is a win for Saskatchewan’s economy and producers because it’s one of the largest investments made in the province. It is on track with Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan of processing 75 percent of the canola grown in the province and increasing agriculture’s value-added revenue to $10 billion a year.

Due to increased demand for canola oil, Canadian crushers are rushing to crush more canola. In addition to the new FCL-AGT plant, Richardson International, Ceres Global Ag Corp, Cargill and Viterra are all increasing crushing capacity. Combined, the companies will increase Canada’s canola crush capacity by 6.8 million tons or 62 percent. The demand is driven by the use of canola oil in foods like margarine and salad dressing as well as in low-carbon fuels.

Could canola meal one day heat our homes? Ajay K. Dalai of the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Engineering believes it can! He and others are researching ways to turn leftover materials from canola production like meal into biocoal. “The challenge is to produce high-quality pellets suitable for storage and transportation to facilities where it can be burned to produce heat and power,” he says.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and growing restrictions in Ontario, the 2022 Canadian Crops Convention, originally scheduled for March 8-10 in Ottawa, has been postponed until March 7-9, 2023. If you have already registered for the event, refunds will take 5-10 days to process.

Latest Industry News

The Pacific Northwest Canola Association will host two Stop ‘n’ Talk canola tours Feb. 2-3 from 10am to 1pm Pacific Time. These short-notice, informal, smaller group gatherings during the growing season are an opportunity for growers to learn and network. The Feb. 2 event will be in Wilbur, Wash., and Feb. 3 in Waitsburg, Wash. RSVP to Karen Sowers at pnwcanola@gmail.com by Feb. 1.

The Minnesota Canola Council offers links to presentations at its Dec. 2021 Canola Symposium on current and future research, industry innovations, canola market outlooks, political implications of a new administration and other topics “to give Minnesota’s canola farmers the tools they need to make the coming year a profitable one,” according to President Beth Nelson.

Canola farmers in Minnesota should be aware that the USDA RMA’s final date to apply for crop insurance for spring crops is March 15 for the 2022 crop year. Insurance helps farmers manage revenue risks and strengthens the rural economy.

Despite historically low yields and COVID-19 uncertainty, canola stakeholders are still optimistic about the future, according to Jim Everson, president of the Canola Council of Canada. He cites increasing global demand driven by dietary and climatic changes. This includes gaining a foothold in the renewable fuel market, which is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

About the USCA

The USCA will hold its annual spring board and membership meeting Mon.-Wed., March 7-9 in Washington, D.C., pending COVID interference. The tentative schedule includes a welcome reception on Monday evening, full-day meeting and board dinner Tuesday, and Congressional office visits on Wednesday.

The USCA welcomes new industry board member Ceres Global Ag of Golden Valley, Minn. In May 2021, Ceres announced it will build a new canola crush facility at its existing site in Northgate, Sask., Canada. Construction will begin in spring 2022 and completed by 2024. Ceres intends to provide low-carbon intensity feedstocks to the expanding biofuels market and high-quality feed products to livestock producers.

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