Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest

Capitol Hill

On Feb. 26, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 response package with more than $4 billion for the food supply chain, agriculture and food aid. The measure is under consideration in the Senate, where the outcome is uncertain.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom VilsackTom Vilsack was confirmed and sworn in as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He returns to the position after serving for eight years under President Obama. Other key USDA nominees and appointees include:

  • Jewel Bronaugh, Deputy Secretary – She has served since 2018 as commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  • Katherine Ferguson, Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary – She served in the Obama Administration as chief of staff for the White House Domestic Policy Council and USDA Rural Development.
  • Robert Bonnie, Deputy Chief of Staff – He was an executive in residence at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University.
  • Kumar Chandran, Senior Advisor on Nutrition – He was policy director of FoodCorps and led its Washington, D.C. office.
  • Gloria Montaño Greene, Deputy Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation – She was the Arizona Farm Service Agency (FSA) executive director from 2014-2017 and previously served as chief of staff to Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz).
  • Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator – He was executive director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council, the largest native American organization of its kind in the United States. He and his brothers operate a family ranch on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) responded to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) call for comments on Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waiver requests for 2019 and 2020. The agency denied unwarranted waiver requests in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2018. Similar requests for 2019 and 2020 do not meet the required criteria and should again be denied by the agency, notes the USCA in a Feb. 18 letter to EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator Anne Austin.

The USDA announced the Quality Loss Adjustment Program, which provides long-delayed WHIP+ quality loss provisions due to natural disasters in 2018 and 2019.  The application period ends March 5 and producers have until March 19 to submit required documentation. Eligible are producers in counties that received a presidential or secretarial disaster designation from a qualifying disaster event and at least 5 percent quality loss. There is a 70 percent payment factor for all applicants, which is compounded by 50 percent for those without specified documentation.

FarmingFarmers have until March 15 to sign-up for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a guaranteed level. The PLC provides payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price. Covered commodities include canola, corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and a range of minority crops.

The USCA joined other agricultural groups in several letters to Congress and President Biden expressing its support of priority issues, including opposition to cuts in crop insurance, support for increased investment in agricultural research and development, funding for international food aid and improvement of transportation and rural infrastructure.


How do you get higher canola yields with less acreage? Enter gene editing. A new study from the University of Calgary used this technology to modify canola, producing shorter plants with many more branches and flowers. The researchers were able to accomplish this by editing a single gene. Imagine the possibilities with gene editing!

A newly discovered trait helps plants grow deeper roots in dry, compacted soils. A study from Pennsylvania State University researchers found the trait, abbreviated MCS, which is characterized by small cells with thick walls just beneath the surface of roots. Researchers believe this trait could help crops deal with a changing climate.

Evaluating disease risk in your crops is key to a healthy harvest. Quantum Genetix offers Q-Protect to increase timing and decision confidence based on knowledge of spore presence. It helps determine the amount of a pathogen that is present, allowing growers to increase their accuracy in predicting disease risk and impact.



How does canola stack up to other oils? In honor of National Nutrition Month and March Madness, the USCA blog sizes up the competition. While there are a lot of great cooking oils, canola oil is the only one that can be used in nearly all culinary applications and cuisines. This is mainly due to its neutral taste, light texture, high heat tolerance (468 °F) and ideal fat profile – a real knock-out!

Other Country News

Canola farmers in Alberta are rejoicing as global demand for canola reaches a 13-year high. Farmers are reporting increases in bushels from $10 to $16. This is largely due to China stockpiling canola during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts say that China has gone through spurts of buying large in the past, but it’s unclear when the boom will stop.

Latest Industry News

Growers can now sign up for the “Getting it Right in Canola Production” virtual conference on Tuesday, March 16 hosted by North Dakota State University Extension and the Northern Canola Growers Association. This educational event will help producers with decisions for the upcoming growing season. Pre-registration is required for the free event.

BASF announced the U.S. launch of InVigor Choice LR344PC canola, a hybrid including three non-biotech traits (MS8 x RF3 x MON 88302) that laboratories will have the capability to detect. This seed was initially launched in Canada in 2020. BASF received import approvals in China, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the EU in order to commercialize it. BASF owns the MS8 and RF3 events and Bayer is licensing the MON 88302 event to BASF.

A February report on Oilseed World Markets and Trade from the USDA forecasts oilseed production at 595 million tons, an increase of 600,000+ tons above January for 2020-21. But global canola production declined this month to 68,934 million metric tons.

About the USCA

Canola growers, tell us why you like growing our favorite yellow crop and we’ll include you in the USCA’s “Grow Canola” campaign. Meanwhile, please share what fellow growers are saying with the hashtags #GrowCanola, #USCA and #UScanola.

TikTokThe USCA will host its annual spring board and membership meeting online March 9-11, including virtual visits with key Congressional offices.

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