With major canola-producing areas facing excessive moisture that has significantly delayed planting, the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) and Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cover the loss in indemnity coverage for the first 20 days after the final planting date for those unable to complete plantings in time. The USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council and Northern Pulse Growers Association also signed onto the letter.
On May 16, the USDA announced disaster assistance payments for producers of crops, including canola, for losses suffered during 2020 and 2021 crop years. In September 2021, Congress enacted a bill that included $10 billion for agriculture disaster assistance. The USDA is implementing this assistance in two phases as the Emergency Relief Program (ERP). To simplify the delivery of phase 1 benefits, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will send pre-filled application forms to producers whose crop insurance and Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) data is already on file because they received an indemnity or NAP payment. This form includes eligibility requirements, outlines the application process and provides ERP payment information. Producers will receive a separate application form for each program year. Receipt of a pre-filled application is not confirmation of eligibility for a phase 1 payment. Producers must return completed applications to their local FSA county office.
On May 18, the USCA submitted comprehensive comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for approval of canola oil as a feedstock for renewable diesel, jet fuel, naphtha, liquified petroleum gas and heating oil under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The USCA agrees with the EPA’s determination that these biofuels qualify as advanced under the RFS by meeting the minimum 50 percent reduction in emissions requirement. “Canola oil renewable diesel is a commercially viable advanced biofuel that is available today and meets all of the goals of Congress in establishing the RFS,” the USCA wrote. There were 31 distinct comments posted on EPA’s website on the canola pathways, mostly from USCA members and industry stakeholders.
The EPA will finalize a rule setting RFS biofuel blending volumes for the 2023 compliance year by late April 2023, according to a proposed agreement stemming from a lawsuit filed by biofuel groups. The RFS program is in its final year of volumes mandated by Congress, so 2023 will be the first set by the EPA. The agency plans to release a proposed rule by Sept. 16, 2022, and final rule by April 28, 2023.
In response to a brief issued by the U.S. Solicitor General to the Supreme Court advising the court not take up a case regarding glyphosate cancer claims, the USCA joined 53 agricultural organizations in a letter to President Biden urging his administration to withdraw the brief and consult with the USDA regarding the implications of the decision for food production, environmental sustainability and science-based regulation. In the brief, the Solicitor General wrote that certain aspects of state labeling requirements, including chronic health claims, are not pre-empted by federal law. This is a significant departure from previous bipartisan administrative policy.
The USCA also submitted comments on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2025-30 (see Nutrition below).
In the USCA Blog, Venkata Chapara, Ph.D., at Langdon Research Extension Center of North Dakota State University discusses the incidence and management of clubroot in canola plants. He notes that clubroot is to date endemic to Cavalier County, N.D. The highest incidence was recorded in 2018 (31% of the canola fields surveyed had clubroot galls on roots) and the lowest (5%) in 2021. Chapara suggests continuous monitoring of the disease, identifying and treating patches before it spreads, planting clubroot-resistant canola in endemic areas and thoroughly cleaning equipment after use in affected areas.
Also in the USCA Blog, Anitha Chirumamilla, Ph.D., and Hans Kandel, Ph.D., of North Dakota State University extension in Langdon evaluate swathing versus straight-combining canola. Fields prone to early frost and excessive lodging with uneven maturity and heavy infestations of green weeds and diseases are more suitable for swathing. Heavier canola stands are better suited for straight combining.
The USCA submitted comments to the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2025-30. These comments address the question: “What is the relationship between food sources of saturated fat consumed and risk of cardiovascular disease?” Moreover, they summarize nutrition research on canola oil within the last decade, highlighting numerous health benefits.
On May 18, China announced that it is reinstating market access for canola seed from two Canadian companies barred from exporting to China since March 2019. Although these restrictions followed the arrest of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou in Canada, China claimed the suspended exports were due to a detection of quarantine pests in canola shipments. It is unclear when other Canadian exporters will be reinstated as well.
Canola isn’t only functional, it’s beautiful, notes the Windsor Star. In Essex County, Ontario, visitors and selfie-takers have been drawn to bright yellow fields. Growers in the area are thrilled to see visitors enjoying the crop.
To update industry information regarding the time and cost required to take a genetically modified (GM) trait from discovery to commercialization, CropLife International commissioned AgbioInvestor to examine how metrics have changed since 2012. Key findings include:
- The cost of discovery, development and authorization of a new GM trait has declined by $21 million over the past 10 years, primarily due to greater efficiency in the trait discovery phase (from $136 million in 2008-12 to $115 million today). However, the time to market has increased from 13.1 years to 16.5 years.
- This report demonstrates that a more harmonized regulatory framework around the world would improve time to market, benefitting farmers and consumers.
- Typically, as regulators become more familiar with a technology, the time for regulatory approval decreases. This trend is not being reflected with GM traits, which require almost 140 percent more time than in 2008-12 for regulatory approval.
How are companies using canola protein? CEO of Merit Functional Foods, Ryan Bracken, says canola protein works best when it’s used as a “complementary protein, especially when blended with a base protein such as pea.” In food products, such as ready-to-make drinks, canola protein contributes to the creamy texture and light color for a more dairy-like experience. In frozen desserts, the protein reduces viscosity and smooths texture.
With lower vegetable oil supplies driving up prices, Canadian farmers’ decision to cut canola acres this year due to soil conditions will lead to a huge loss in revenue, notes Reuters. Because of this and geopolitical and supply chain issues, the USDA predicts Canada’s 2021-22 canola ending stocks at just a quarter of recent averages and a nine-year low.
The USCA will hold a special in-person meeting in Minot, N.D., July 7-8 and its autumn board meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., Nov. 9-11. More on UScanola.com.
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