Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest

Capitol Hill

The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Oct. 19 in response to the agency’s notice that it was considering lowering the 2018 biomass-based biodiesel requirement by as much as 315 million gallons. Instead, the USCA urged the EPA to “increase biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes in 2018-2019 to reflect the real and proven potential of U.S. farmers, biodiesel producers, and their rural communities.” Since receipt of this letter—along with other letters from Congress and governors, plus a meeting with senators—the EPA will no longer pursue the rollbacks.

Now that a budget resolution has been passed, Congress and the White House are turning their attention to enactment of comprehensive tax reform. It’s an area where agricultural groups have been vocal, participating in meetings with the White House, Congressional staff and industry partners. Top priorities identified by those in the ag space include allowing interest deductions on farm business debt; allowing for full and immediate expensing of capital investments; repealing estate tax; and extending and restructuring the biodiesel tax credit.


A group of plant scientists have concluded that genetic modification of crops to repel insects or resist herbicides and diseases will be essential to avoid future food shortages. According to the team from Rothamsted Research in the U.K. and Syngenta Crop Science and Symmetry Bioanalytics in the U.S., biotech developments have reduced costs and increased productivity in farming over the past 20 years. However, the group acknowledges that emerging biotechnologies like gene editing need more field research for future use and understanding.

The Internet is full of mistruths, but one that Registered Dietitian Julie Upton can quash today is the myth that canola oil is made from rapeseed plants. In fact, canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of canola plants, not from rapeseed. Although the two are cousins, their compositions are quite different. While rapeseed oil contains high levels of erucic acid—a compound linked to heart disease—canola oil is regulated to contain only negligible amounts of it. Canola oil is not only 100 percent safe, its low saturated fat and high omega-3 fat also make it one of the healthiest oils in the world.


Want six-pack abs? Reach for canola oil. According to Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition at Penn State University, the oil’s “monounsaturated fatty acids seem to particularly target abdominal fat.” In a study led by Kris-Etherton, 101 participants with abdominal obesity or increased weight circumference incorporated canola oil into their diets for a month. After 30 days, participants generally had about a quarter pound less belly fat than they did at the beginning of the study.

Restaurants across the U.S. are touting the use of canola oil as a primary ingredient. From San Francisco’s Finn Town Tavern to Chicago’s La Sirena Clandestina and in between, chefs are using the oil to sear tuna, dress salads and fry croquettes. In fact, the executive chef for the University of Massachusetts’ dining services reports that they use approximately 450 gallons of canola oil per week!

As U.S. temperatures start to dip, warming up with a hearty bowl of chili is comforting. Thanks to this chipotle turkey and sweet potato chili recipe from Men’s Fitness, you don’t have to choose between taste and health. With just 10 minutes of preparation—plus lean turkey, canola oil, chicken broth and a few other ingredients—you can go from start to a simmering, spicy pot in only an hour.

Other Country News

By 2025, farmers in Canada could be producing 26 million tons of canola. (That’s 7.4 million tons more than in 2016.) Although most people in the canola trade are on board with the growth, industry experts acknowledge that new buyers will be needed in order to keep demand on par with supply. One proposed solution is to develop a canola variety that is higher in protein and lower in fiber to be better for hogs and poultry. In fact, Dow AgroSciences has already begun work on ProPound, a canola variety with superior meal being grown in Western Canada that could be marketed to the hog industry.

Some counties in Alberta, Canada are taking a zero-tolerance approach to clubroot, a policy that was put in place in 2016 after the disease started to move north. “Our policy basically states that if you have clubroot, you cannot seed that land back to canola for four years,” Steve Upham, reeve of St. Paul County, told the Alberta Farmer Express. If a field is suspected of having clubroot, it’s tested and once confirmed, the landowner receives a notice that disallows him from growing canola and other cruciferous crops for three years. He or she must also control volunteer canola and sanitize equipment. However, in Red Deer County, the policy of zero tolerance has been adjusted to allow for case-by-case management decisions. “I want to … come to an understanding of using best management practices to curb the disease rather than using a heavy hammer,” said Cody McIntosh, the county’s acting agricultural manager. “We’re here to help these guys farm—not prevent them from farming.”

Latest Industry News

BASF will purchase a large part of Bayer’s seed and herbicide business for $7 billion. Though BASF has long been a supplier to the ag industry, the purchase marks its first official entry into the seed business with Bayer’s canola hybrids in North America, rapeseed in Europe and more. Meanwhile, the deal may also help silence concerns from regulators who view Bayer’s planned acquisition of Monsanto as creating an unfair competitive advantage. However, BASF has also been a collaborator with Monsanto for the past decade, working with the company to develop biotech crops but relying on Monsanto for seed production.

About the USCA

Visit the USCA website to read our latest blog—”Opportunities Abound for U.S. Biodiesel Industry”—by J. Alan Weber, senior advisor to the National Biodiesel Board. He notes that the EPA has not committed to raising the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume higher than 2.1 billion gallons, which is problematic. “Stagnating volume requirements are not only counter to the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard but also will negatively impact our economy, including production agriculture and the canola industry,” writes Weber.

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