Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest


Capitol Hill

On Dec. 17 and 20, the House and the Senate passed fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills, including agriculture. HR1865, which contains the agriculture appropriations bill, passed by a 297-120 vote in the House and 71-23 in the Senate and was signed into law on Dec. 20. It provides $1 million for Supplemental and Alternative Crops, which funds the National Canola Research Program, and an additional $1.5 billion for the Wildfires & Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP+) to expand disaster assistance.

Congress also reached agreement on a “tax extenders” package that includes a five-year extension of the biodiesel tax credit at $1.00 per gallon for all five years covering 2018-2022, retroactive to Dec. 31, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2022. This five-year extension is a milestone as it is typically extended for only one or two years at a time.

On Dec. 19, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized 2020-2021 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes and provisions addressing the Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs). The RFS remains largely unchanged from the agency’s July proposal and offers no increase in volumes for biomass-based diesel or within overall advanced volumes for 2021. The U.S. Canola Association submitted comments on both of these matters, urging the EPA to increase biomass-based diesel volumes and to account for SREs using an average of the actual volumes waived.

The Trump Administration and U.S. Trade Representative announced a “phase one” agreement with China that will reportedly include significant increases in China’s purchases of U.S. products ($40 billion in 2020 and 2021 – a $16 billion increase over 2017 levels). China has confirmed it will include “notable” increases of U.S. agricultural products, but it has not publicly confirmed a specific amount. The White House has indicated that the phase one agreement will be signed on January 15.

The Trump Administration and Congressional Democrats reached agreement on the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) in mid-Dec. The House passed it by year-end but the Senate did not. According to Senate Majority Leader McConnell, a vote on the USMCA will not occur until late January 2020 after the Trump impeachment proceedings. Enactment of the USMCA would maintain existing policies for agricultural trade and result in:

  • An increase in U.S. agricultural exports by $2 billion with a $65 billion increase in gross domestic product
  • New market access for American dairy and poultry products while preserving zero tariffs for all other agricultural products
  • Non-discriminatory grading standards for agricultural products, including wheat
  • Science-based trading standards underpinning sanitary and phytosanitary measures and progress on geographic indications
  • Cooperation, information-sharing and other trade-promoting rules related to agricultural biotechnology, including gene editing

Agronomy

Stakeholders in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio are encouraged to submit input to the Springfield, Ill., Risk Management Agency office for its review of canola insurance policy in the Midwest. Submissions are due by Jan. 5, 2020.

Nutrition

Mediterranean versus Nordic diet, which is better? The biggest difference between the two is the type of oil used, notes U.S. News & World Report. Instead of olive oil, canola oil is used in the Nordic diet, adding more omega-3 fat to it along with fatty fish. Both types of diet are healthful, but the Nordic diet is even more heart-healthy.

Do your new year resolutions include eating more healthfully? If so, check out CanolaInfo.org for hundreds of recipes made with heart-smart canola oil.

Other Country News

After an abnormally wet autumn, canola producers in Canada are facing the smallest canola crop in four years, down 8 percent from last year. About 2 million acres of canola was frozen in fields. Jim Everson, president of the Canola Council of Canada, emphasizes the need to focus on things within the industry’s control, such as fostering government relations and re-opening market access to China.

Could Russia become a major canola competitor with Canada? Industry officials think so. With canola plantings steadily growing over the past decade, Russia planted nearly 4.5 million acres this year and eyes expansion to over 12 million by 2024. However, this growth doesn’t come without challenges, including persistent droughts and a large percentage of farmers using farm-saved seed rather than new hybrids.

Latest Industry News

In early 2020, the largest oilseed crushing plant in Montana is scheduled to open. Montana Specialty Mills will crush organic canola, non-GMO canola and flax, grown by farmers in Western Canada and the northern U.S. plains. It will crush up to 10,000 bushels per day or 225 tonnes of oilseeds. Seed companies are working on non-biotech canola winter varieties suitable for Montana.

The 2019 Minnesota Canola Production Centre report is now available! It contains results from last year’s state research trials that address the highest priorities for the crop.

About the USCA

The U.S. Canola Association will host its spring annual board and membership meeting in Washington, D.C., March 10-12, 2020. The Hyatt House on The Wharf has a group rate of $249/night in effect until Feb. 10. Register for the meeting online.

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