Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest

Capitol Hill

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has issued the FY Supplemental and Alternative Crops Program Request for Applications. The competitive grant program was appropriated $825,000 by Congress last year and funds the National Canola Research Program. The application deadline is April 11, 2016.

U.S. Canola Association (USCA) President Jeff Scott attended February’s annual meeting of the National Oilseed Processors Association along with representatives of oilseed industry companies and their customers. The focus was on issues affecting global market demand, such as the Chinese economy and Trans Pacific Partnership. Companies and producer groups also shared their perspectives on sustainability and what it means for them.

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) held its annual conference in January and USCA representative Ryan Pederson attended. The conference focused on the growing prominence of biodiesel, policy accomplishments regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and biodiesel tax credit, and the industry’s contributions toward reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The NBB has filed a petition for review in the federal appeals court to defend the biodiesel industry’s interests under the RFS.

In late 2015, Canadian Pacific Railway made an offer to merge with Norfolk Southern Corporation. That offer was rejected, but Canadian Pacific is continuing its efforts to take over Norfolk Southern, prompting House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte to seek clarification from the Surface Transportation Board on the potential merger. Rail customers, including farmers and agribusinesses, are concerned such a merger might not be in farmers’ best interests.


Doug Goehring, North Dakota’s agriculture commissioner, called the 2016 outlook for the state’s farmers “pretty dismal,” Agweek reported. Commodity prices that are lower than they’ve been in several years, coupled with high chemical and fertilizer prices, mean farmers will be trying to cut spending this year.

Canola can be a profitable crop for a large number of farmers in North Dakota and Minnesota, according to Jim Johnson, president of Star Specialty Seed. Canola has already been grown successfully in southern Minnesota for several years, yielding over 2,000 pounds per acre, disproving claims that canola is better suited for far northern regions, Farm and Ranch Guide reported.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is working on rule changes concerning the crucifer quarantine for blackleg as it applies to regulations for the establishment and inspection of public and private canola trial grounds. “Washington State University and the WSDA remind growers and industry that all commercial crucifer seed planted this spring must be tested and certified blackleg free, and each bag of seed should have a WSDA-issued green tag indicating it is quarantine compliant,” said Karen Sowers, WSU extension and outreach specialist. “The quarantine also applies to cover crop mixtures that contain any crucifer seed.”

An oilseed supply list for the Pacific Northwest is posted on the WSU website. Canola seed is available from suppliers throughout the region for 2016 spring planting.

Good news for a canola pollinator: Bombus occidentalis. This bumble bee species used to be one of the most common in the Pacific Northwest, but in the mid-90s, it became one of the rarest. Entomology Today reported that a fungal pathogen may have caused the decline, but now populations are at their highest level in a decade.

The University of Idaho Brassica breeding and research team released its 2015 canola variety trial results.


The Montclarion urged college students not to avoid eating fat. Ten years ago, eliminating fat was touted as an effective weight-loss strategy. Now nutritionists know that unsaturated fats, like those found in canola oil, are healthy, helping reduce bad cholesterol levels when consumed in place of saturated fats.

Healthy fats also reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack and diabetes. They are necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E, and they keep your immune system in optimal shape, according to The Austin Daily Herald. It’s recommended that adults get 20 to 35 percent of their total calories from fat, ideally omega-3 sources such as canola oil, walnuts and tuna.’s bilingual “Canola vs. Vegetable Oil” campaign was launched in January, highlighting four reasons to choose canola oil over products labeled vegetable oil. One reason: vegetable oil can be made from any number of oils, meaning its culinary performance and nutritional profile cannot be guaranteed. Since then, the campaign has generated about 400 million media impressions.

Canola oil may help prevent macular degeneration, Australian researchers have discovered. ABC News reported on a study that shows canola oil contains lutein, which has been used to prevent and treat the eye disease.

Other Country News

A Canadian documentary, “License to Farm,” was released in January. The CBC reported that the film calls upon farmers to dispel myths about biotech crops and foods. Proponents say the film, which is available online, can help combat the anti-biotech movement. SaskCanola, an industry group representing the province’s 26,000 canola growers, invested $150,000 — three-quarters of the cost — to produce the documentary; the governments of Saskatchewan and Canada funded the remainder.

Latest Industry News

The Chinese firm ChemChina has proposed purchasing the seed and chemical company Syngenta, based in Switzerland, and that potential deal will get a national security review in the U.S., according to Brownfield Ag News. The Committee on Foreign Investments will conduct the review to decide whether it poses any threat to U.S. national security — specifically, to food security.

California-based plant genetics company Cibus has developed technology that influences plant genes and produces desired traits such as herbicide resistance or drought tolerance in field crops, Grainews reported. They use a process called gene editing, which doesn’t introduce foreign material into a plant gene, meaning it’s not considered biotech. Cibus has already used the method to develop SU Canola, the first non-biotech canola resistant to sulfonylurea chemistry, which is now available in the U.S.

About the USCA

The USCA held its annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C., Feb. 22-24, including its 12th “Canola on Capitol Hill” reception. Attendees celebrated the theme “Trade Up with Canola Oil” in honor of the Trans Pacific Partnership. The U.S. Trade Representative’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator Darci Vetter spoke at the event, noting the forthcoming benefits of this 12-country deal.

The USCA is on social media! Please join us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for a multi-faceted look into the world of canola.

Visit the USCA blog for in-depth discussions of the important issues affecting the U.S. canola industry. The current topic is the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020.