The U.S. Canola Association (USCA), in coordination with state and regional staff, is requesting continued funding of the National Canola Research Program through the Supplemental and Alternative Crops program authorized in the farm bill and administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Many Congressional offices have an early March deadline for FY2021 appropriation requests in writing. These requests will be reiterated during the meetings with Congressional offices during the March USCA meeting in Washington, D.C.
On Feb. 20, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Agriculture Innovation Agenda (AIA) to help farmers increase productivity by 40 percent while halving their environmental footprint by 2050. The AIA is a department-wide effort to align the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) resources, programs and research to position American agriculture as a leader in meeting the food, fiber, fuel, feed and climate demands of the future.
The same week, the Farmers for a Sustainable Future (FSF) coalition of 21 U.S. agricultural groups, including the U.S. Canola Association , was unveiled. Its goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve natural resources in line with the AIA and United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. FSF’s guiding principles support science-based research; voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs; investment in infrastructure, and solutions that ensure vibrant rural communities and a healthy planet.
While USDA leadership is hopeful that U.S. ag exports will return to normal levels in 2020, removing the need for more Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments, a tweet from President Trump on Feb. 21 suggests otherwise: “If our formally targeted farmers need additional aid until such time as the trade deals with China, Mexico, Canada and others fully kick in, that aid will be provided by the federal government, paid for out of the massive tariff money coming into the USA!” However, MFP payments are not paid for directly with tariff revenues, rather via the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation, which offers credit replenished by Congress through the annual appropriations process.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), is still awaiting final ratification by Canada. Its Conservative Party has not backed the Liberal Party in its passage and Bloc Quebecois has criticisms, largely over Canadian aluminum. Nonetheless, Canada is expected to ratify the USCMA in the coming weeks.
In the USCA Blog this month, Dr. Brian Jenks, weed scientist at North Dakota State University, gives tips for preventing weed resistance to herbicide systems. He says that just like weeds, farmers must learn to adapt. If they use the same herbicide frequently, it will eventually become ineffective. Proper crop rotation, spraying weeds at the right growth stage and considering fall herbicide applications are just a few of his helpful tips.
The Canola Council of Canada has released an online tool to compare canola varieties that summarizes results from 2019 trials. While these varieties were all grown in Canada, they may be suitable to U.S. spring canola-growing areas.
Have you forgotten what makes canola oil so heart-healthy? Refresh your memory: https://www.uscanola.com/nutrition-cooking/. In short, canola oil has the least saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of all common cooking oils! That’s why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim for canola oil and reduced risk of heart disease.
Saskatchewan, Canada is opening up a trade office in India to increase agricultural exports like canola oil. Because of the oil’s heart-healthy properties, size of India and heavy oil consumption there, there is a lot of opportunity for growth in this market. Saskatchewan recently lost India as its biggest customer of yellow peas, so canola oil may boost the province’s agricultural exports.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Fisheries and Land Resources believes there is potential for growing canola in the northeastern Canadian province. So now its Department of Agriculture Research and Development is exploring opportunities to grow the crop and Memorial University is researching the nutritional quality of local canola. Although the crop is relatively new to the province, it appears to offer a promising alternative to imported soybean meal for protein and palm oil as fat in animal feed and human food.
In wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, the Canadian canola market in China has dropped further, according to Reuters. It has stalled talks between the countries about China’s decision to block Canadian canola seed shipments last March in retaliation for detaining a top Huawei Technologies executive.
In a major scam, Canadian canola oil was imported into Bangladesh as rapeseed oil to evade taxes, reported the Press Trust of India. The oil was imported from December 2019 to January 2020 and equated to around 15,000 tons.
In an effort to increase protein in canola seed, Corteva Agriscience, in collaboration with Bunge, Botaneco and Protein Industries Canada, is investing $27.65 million in a project to make canola hybrids produce more valuable canola meal. Bill Greuel, CEO of Protein Industries Canada, believes it could double the value. Commercialization of high-protein canola hybrids is expected within the next four years.
The North Dakota Farm Service Agency tallied the final 2018 canola Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments for the state: $69 million for 1.325 million base acres, notes the Northern Canola Growers Association. Payments averaged $52 per acre based on a payment rate of $.0435 per pound. This rate is based on the difference between the Marketing Year Average Price for canola and the Reference Price. Due to depressed commodity prices, payments to canola growers were the second largest in the short history of the PLC program. Projected prices indicate that 2019 PLC payments may be 25 percent higher, which will result in the largest payments to date for canola growers.
The U.S. Canola Association will host its spring annual board and membership meeting in Washington, D.C., March 10-12, 2020. Key topics will be canola research, agricultural trade, disaster assistance, farm bill implementation, appropriations FY2021 and biodiesel.
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