Canola Quick Bytes
A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest
Congress reached agreement on Dec. 21 on a large package that will include all fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, a $900 billion COVID19 response package and extension of expiring tax provisions. The appropriations section included $1 million for the National Canola Research Program under Supplemental and Alternative Crops, and increased funding for the Sclerotinia Initiative. The COVID19 response portion of the package includes $26 billion for food and agriculture. Of that, $13 billion is for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The other half will go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), with $11.1 billion for direct assistance to producers, including $20 per acre for commodities included in the price trigger and flat-rate categories. Canola was in the latter. The package also includes funding to fulfill commitments to producers under WHIP+ for 2018 and 2019 crop years, covering such things as quality loss and the second 50 percent of benefits. Finally, the package authorizes the USDA to make payments to producers of biofuels and renewable fuels with market losses due to COVID19.
President-elect Joe Biden selected the former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to lead the department again. Vilsack was a two-term governor of Iowa and served for all eight years of the Obama administration. He “is ready to get to work on day one,” says the Biden-Harris transition team. “With an estimated one-in-six Americans and a quarter of U.S. children facing a hunger crisis, farmers reeling, and rural communities struggling to weather the pain and economic fallout of the pandemic, Vilsack will bring the experience and bold thinking needed to deliver immediate relief to farmers, ranchers, producers and families all across the country.”
The Biden-Harris transition team also announced Katherine Tai as their nominee for U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). They said “her deep experience will allow the Biden-Harris administration to hit the ground running on trade, and harness the power of our trading relationships to help the U.S. dig out of the COVID-induced economic crisis and pursue the President-elect’s vision of a pro-American worker trade strategy.”
President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Michael Regan, currently director of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, to be administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
On Dec. 2, the House of Representatives passed the U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020, sending the measure to President Trump for signature and enactment. The reauthorization maintains certainty and transparency for the federal grain inspection system and its stakeholders. It was scheduled to expire on Dec. 11.
To offset greenhouse gases, the Biden administration vows to fund farmers to conserve farmland and plant cover crops. Biden hopes that “America will be the first country in the world to achieve net-zero emissions and create new sources of income for farmers in the process.” Vilsack says that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will focus on activating farmers as partners in combatting both climate change and skepticism about it.
A new video by the Pacific Northwest Canola Association called “Building Soil Health with Canola Production” features growers in eastern Washington. You may recognize some of the association’s board and grower members in it! Check out the trailer.
“Once upon a time, there was a teensy, weensy canola seed” that grew into a beautiful plant and turned into healthy oil. Watch the full story of canola production by Habner Productions in Australia.
New year, new you? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 were issued just in the nick of time for any diet- and health-related resolutions you may have. As usual, canola oil is recommended as an oil high in unsaturated fats; the USCA Blog has details. The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) submitted comments to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in June 2019.
Because canola meal is high in protein and acreage, it has become very popular for livestock, including swine. Research from the University of Illinois suggests that canola meal can fully replace soybean meal in pig diets without reducing animal performance. However, in the U.S. pig industry, canola is not widely used among farmers who don’t grow it because transporting it can be expensive. As a result, canola meal for swine is expected to grow more in Canada and Europe.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed problems throughout the meat industry, including poor working conditions and supply chain issues. As a result, consumers are becoming more interested in plant-based diets. Even though there are no more widespread meat shortages, plant-based sales remain up and myths about plant proteins that have been barriers to entry, such as that they are more difficult to cook, have been debunked. So, it looks like the plant-based industry, which will soon include canola protein for human consumption, is here to stay. Meat will, too, though.
Canola oil is heart-healthy and good for cholesterol with high unsaturated fat content, according to TimesNowNews.com of India. It is also good for diabetes management and high-temperature cooking!
Other Country News
Canola farmers can look forward to higher canola prices due to problems with South America’s soybean crop, according to Oil World analyst Thomas Mielke. Low rainfall there has caused widespread soybean crop failure so rapeseed/canola imports are expected to fill the gaps. U.S. soybean stocks will be tight so the industry will be forced to crush more soybeans, boosting the price of the crop as well as canola. Europe has led canola exports, but Australia and Canada will need to fill the remaining void.
Latest Industry News
Corteva unveiled an “open innovation” website on Dec. 8 as part of its commitment to provide transparency to the agricultural value chain, including NGOs and consumers. It provides an overview of breeding methods used to develop seed varieties/hybrids and crop protection innovations that have enabled the plant science industry to feed a growing world. The website is designed to build trust and educate about the long history of safe technologies in crop production – from conventional crossing and selection to use of molecular markers to rDNA technology and gene editing. It showcases the toolbox the industry has to provide value for farmers and society.
The Pacific Northwest Canola Association (PNWCA) has given complimentary one-year memberships to canola growers in Douglas County, Wash., who suffered loss during the Cold Springs-Canyon Pearl Hill Fire. The fire burned 350 square miles, at times reaching a rate of 10,000 acres with high winds, taking with it crops, crop residue, equipment, cattle, pasture and more. “Our board of directors decided it was the least we could do for these guys and their families given the devastation they experienced,” says PNWCA President Dale Flikkema.
The PNWCA will hold a virtual canola workshop Feb. 1-2 or 9-10, featuring canola growers, industry and university faculty. Topics will include combine settings and harvest methods, canola storage, marketing, ground preparation and residue management, plus more! Stay tuned to www.pnwcanola.org, Facebook, and Instagram for registration and information.
About the USCA
On Dec. 3, the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) wrote to USTR Robert Lighthizer to encourage China to honor its commitment to complete biotech approvals in an average of two years, which was mandated in the US-China Phase I agreement signed earlier this year. The National Biosafety Committee in China is expected to review a new canola seed trait which has languished in its regulatory system since 2012. Because commodity streams in North America are co-mingled, approval of new biotech seed traits is required in China for commercialization of advanced canola seed for U.S. farmers.
The best thing you could give for the holidays is kindness! Farm Rescue proves it in this month’s blog, which discusses with founder Bill Gross how this North Dakota-based non-profit has helped 700 farmers since 2005, including some hospitalized with COVID-19 this year. Farm Rescue volunteers have come to the rescue of farmers impacted by illness, injury or other catastrophe. Farmers in need or interested in volunteering can apply online.
This e-newsletter is now in podcast format! Listen to Canola Quick Bytes on the USCA’s YouTube channel.
The U.S. Canola Association’s spring board and annual membership meeting will be March 9-11, 2021 in Washington, D.C. or online, pending the COVID-19 situation.
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