Canola Quick Bytes
A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest
The United States Trade Representative notified Congress that Canada and Mexico have taken all measures necessary to comply with the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) set to take effect on July 1, 2020. The U.S. followed thirdly, notifying the other countries that it had completed its domestic procedures to implement the agreement — the final step necessary for the USMCA to enter into force.
The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program was announced on April 17 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 emergency. It includes two major elements: 1) direct support to farmers and 2) USDA purchases and distribution. Direct support includes $16 billion based on actual losses where prices and market supply chains have been impacted with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply. Farmers can apply for coverage in early May and expect payment by early July. The USDA will partner with distributors and wholesalers to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat to aid Americans in need. For more information, check out this month’s USCA Blog.
As COVID-19 sweeps the world, the pandemic is impacting every part of the agricultural supply chain. World Grain notes that one of the biggest concerns is logistics. In the U.S., logistics have been disrupted by the shift in demand from restaurants to grocery stores, with many companies asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to grant relief from federal drive time rules for truck drivers hauling agricultural goods.
The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has a new research initiative related to COVID-19. Research areas include health and security of livestock; well-being of farm, food service providers, and rural Americans; economic security; and food safety. NIFA is seeking applicants with “strategies and knowledge that can be rapidly implemented to minimize or eliminate COVID-19 impacts on the nation’s food and agricultural system.” Applications are due June 4, 2020.
The USDA has added flexibilities for crop insurance to support America’s farmers and ranchers. They include giving farmers the ability to send notifications and reports electronically, extending the date for production reports, and providing additional time on premiums and other payments.
It’s planting season and the USDA is closely following spring planting across the country. It is asking farmers to participate in its #Plant2020 campaign by sharing photos of their planting progress using the hashtag #Plant2020. If farmers prefer to share by email, they can send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Landscape orientation photos and videos 15 seconds or less work best.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released guidelines on how to shop during the COVID-19 pandemic. Special precautions include wearing a face mask in the store, carrying your own disinfectant wipes, and practicing social distancing. The FDA reminds shoppers that there is “currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.” It has an online resource for consumers, food workers and agricultural industries.
In a U.S. consumer research study on awareness, usage and perceptions of cooking oils, the Canola Council of Canada indicated that:
- Half (49%) of those polled purchased canola oil in the last 6 months and more than half (55%) currently have it in their home.
- Nearly four-in-ten (37%) say they use canola oil regularly, with 15% using it the most often.
- Two-in-ten (17%) say that canola oil is their preferred oil to use it is healthy, mild in taste and versatile.
- Nearly three-quarters (73%) use cooking oils to sauté and pan-fry, followed by baking (58%) and deep-frying (49%).
- When compared to other oils, canola oil’s top attributes, include affordability, availability, good value and versatility.
- Despite olive oil being among the most purchased and used oils, 39% of those surveyed say they are more likely to purchase a product made with canola oil instead of olive oil.
After reading the qualified health claim for canola oil, 67% say they are more likely to purchase it and 59% willing to pay more for it.
Other Country News
How has COVID-19 affected the canola supply chain? Actions taken by North American governments have affirmed the importance of keeping food and feed supply chains fully functional as COVID-19 mitigation measures are put in place. Lists of essential services by governments reflect this and feedback so far is that farmers and input providers can support a normal planting season. Processors and exporters continue to function normally and the thousands of people, trucks, trains and equipment that cross borders to support the canola industry continue to flow.
The Canola Council of Canada supports China’s decision to accept canola seed with dockage of 1 percent or less as a temporary trade measure. However, it disagrees with the decision to continue blocking seed from two of Canada’s largest canola exporters, Viterra and Richardson. While the possibility of trade is positive, Rick White, president of the Canadian Canola Growers Association says that it is “a significant step backward to have [the Chinese] vocally express that they don’t believe in the science Canada has provided.”
Latest Industry News
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its latest inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sinks, showing long-term reductions and annual variation. The data from 2018 and earlier shows that U.S. farmers continue to reduce per-unit GHG emissions. They only account for 10% of total emissions compared to 24% globally. Additionally, studies show if farmers’ carbon sequestration efforts were better recognized, their GHG emissions would be even lower. This data was shared during the launch of Farmers for a Sustainable Future , a coalition of growers groups, including the U.S. Canola Association, aimed at educating lawmakers and finding agricultural solutions to climate change.
The U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service issued an April 2020 report on Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade which confirms Canada is the world’s top producer of rapeseed (canola) with 19 million metric tons (MT) in 2019-20. By comparison, Europe produced 17 million MT during the same crop year. Globally, rapeseed is the number two oilseed and meal in production after soy with 68.15 million MT and 38.67 million MT in 2019-20, respectively. Rapeseed oil is number three in the world after palm and soybean oils with 27.44 million MT. In March 2020, the global average price for rapeseed was $406 per MT – the lowest this year.
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