Canola Quick Bytes
A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest
After expiring at the end of September, the 2019 Farm Bill was finally reauthorized in December by Congress and President Trump signed it into law. “The passage of the 2019 Farm Bill is good news because it provides a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers, who need the dependability and certainty this legislation affords,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The Washington Post has a rundown of the bill, which includes more farmer subsidies, a rejection of stricter SNAP requirements and permanent funding for local food programs.
Perdue announced on Dec. 20 the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which requires food manufacturers, importers and certain retailers to disclose foods derived from modern biotechnology. The standard defines such foods as those that contain detectable genetic material (refined oils like canola are excluded) that has been modified through lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature. The implementation date is Jan. 1, 2020, except for small food manufacturers, whose implementation date is Jan. 1, 2021. The mandatory compliance date is Jan. 1, 2022.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers unveiled the new Waters of the U.S. Rule on Dec. 11, which states that the Clean Water Act only applies to “navigable waters” connected by a surface flow at least part of the year. The rule will be open for public comment for 60 days after being published in the Federal Register. A public hearing will be in Kansas City, Kansas on Jan. 23, 2019, about the proposed rule.
2018 was a big year for agricultural trade issues with the negotiation of the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement and trade war between the U.S. and China. To put everything into perspective, Hanna Abou-El-Seoud of Gordley Associates breaks down the agreements and disagreements between U.S. agriculture and the rest of the world in the USCA blog.
The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) updated nutritive values of canola meal to improve the accuracy for dairy feed rations. On Canolamazing.com, the new values are available for download, along with dairy ration balancing programs. “Many existing dairy formulation databases rely on nutritive values from early studies which don’t accurately reflect the performance of canola meal today,” said Brittany Dyck, CCC canola meal manager in Hoard’s Dairyman.
U.S. News and World Report nutrition contributor Keri Gans said 2019 could be a huge year for canola oil because of its high smoke point (468° F). “In today’s kitchen, there are many more available cooking oils than ever before, and it can be hard for the consumer to differentiate between them,” she said. “But one important difference is smoke point, or the temperature above which an oil is no longer stable.”
Though we’ve known it for a long time, dietitians say it bears repeating: coconut oil is not healthy for you. The Silver City Sun News reported that the American Heart Association isn’t backing down from its claim that coconut oil is not considered part of a healthy diet.“ A tablespoon of coconut oil is about equal to the amount of saturated fat adults should eat in one day,” the association noted, recommending canola oil instead.
The Seattle Times’s nutrition writer, Carrie Dennett, busted myths about canola oil. She declared most of the negative information online about it “a myth” like high levels of erucic acid (it contains only around 0.01 percent on average) or retention of hexane. “Canola oil’s bad press is overblown,” she noted. “It’s a neutral-flavored oil rich in heart-healthy fats, and its versatility makes it equally appropriate for salad dressings, marinades and cooking at whatever heat you need in your kitchen.”
Other Country News
Move over wheat, canola is king in western Canada, the Manitoba Cooperator reported. “Due to declining profitability relative to other crop types, acreage for wheat and barley has been declining in favour of other crops — e.g. canola,” it said. However, while canola acreage is creeping up, wheat yields are still high.
In the midst of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, Canadian exporters hoped the demand for canola would shoot up but so far, that hasn’t been the case, The Western Producer reported. However, in December, crush margins improved, bringing down the overall cost of canola which bodes well for increasing exports. “Hopefully now that it is more realistically priced, it may result in a perk up in usage in canola,” Ken Ball of PI Financial said.
New year, new association. The Canola Council of Canada announced major changes for 2019, the Manitoba Cooperator reported, including a 40 percent cut in its overall budget. These cuts are so the council can focus on market access and boosting canola production, downshift its promotion efforts to solely emerging markets like South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam; reduce agronomist redundancies; and integrate some staff with the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association. Such changes may bring back Richardson International, which left the council last year due to differing priorities.
Latest Industry News
In the meantime, Richardson has kept busy. The company announced in December the acquisition of Wesson cooking oil, a leading U.S. brand of canola and other oils. In addition, Richardson will gain control of the Wesson production facility in Memphis, Tenn. “We are excited about expanding into this geography and look forward to investing in the future of this plant, the employees, and the community,” said Curt Vossen, Richardson president and CEO. The sale is expected to be finalized in early 2019.
The 21st Annual Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) Canola Expo in Langdon, N.D., cemented canola’s prominence in the region, but experts warned of risks like clubroot to canola crops in 2019, the Cavalier County Extra reported. “Rotating the resistant varieties is vital,” said Lesley Lubenow, agronomist with the Langdon Research Extension Center. “Genetics are a tool, but there is a no eradication [of clubroot]. We have to learn to live with it.” The event drew 200 growers and over 40 vendors. At the following NCGA annual membership meeting, Troy Romfo of Calvin, Zach Jacobson of Langdon and Matt Mongeon of Rolette were re-elected to the NCGA board.
The 12th Annual NCGA Canola Research Conference took place in Fargo in November at the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Alumni Center. “The NCGA funds more than $265,000 in important canola research projects each year that are designed to enhance the canola industry and solve problems and create opportunities for canola growers in this region,” said NCGA President Pat Murphy. More than 50 industry partners, producers and researchers attended the annual conference. The NCGA and NDSU recommend growers who have been following a two-year canola rotation to lengthen it to prevent the buildup of clubroot pathogens in the soil. Controlling volunteer canola, cleaning field equipment, using resistant varieties and ensuring cover crop plantings are also very critical in containing clubroot, especially in state’s northeast.
If you missed the National Canola Research Conference in Baltimore last November, U.S. Canola Association Communications Director Angela Dansby provides a round-up in the USCA blog. She summarized symposia on nutrition research and world canola production as well as “spicy” agronomic topics, such as clubroot.
About the USCA
The USCA’s 2019 annual board and membership meeting will be Tuesday-Thursday, Jan. 29-31 in Washington, D.C., at the Hyatt House Wharf. Register online.
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