What will 2020 election results mean for agriculture? Gordley & Associates policy analysts Tom Hance and Dale Thorenson explain, naming leadership possibilities, in a pre-election post in this month’s USCA Blog.
Nearly $7 billion from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) has already been distributed to applicants. CFAP 2 will provide up to $14 billion in direct support for producers of eligible commodities. Canola is included under the “flat-rate” payment category. Payment applications will continue through Dec. 11, 2020.
In September, the U.S. Congress reached an agreement to fund the government through Dec. 11, 2020. This includes extending the Commodity Credit Corporation spending cap as well as providing significant funding for pandemic food assistance, including an additional $8 billion for nutrition benefits.
Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) filed S. 4720, Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act of 2020, to update hours-of-service rules. The U.S. Canola Association joined over 100 agricultural groups in a letter expressing support for the bill, which is intended to be incorporated in the next Highway Bill reauthorization. Proposed updates include:
- Making the agricultural exemption to the hours-of-service rules year-round. Currently, each state decides when the agricultural exemption is allowed.
- Expanding the exemption to include 150 air miles on the backend of hauls before hours-of-service rules apply. This would be in addition to the current 150 air-miles exclusion on the frontend.
- Updating the definition of an agricultural commodity for determining eligible freight for exemption to hours-of-service rules. The proposed definition is largely based on one an agricultural coalition of 100 groups proposed to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2019 and would allow for new commodities.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that a pollinator enhancement will be added to its Conservation Stewardship Program for the 2021 crop year. The new enhancement encourages the addition of pollinator-friendly canola or sunflower crops into a farm’s crop rotation, providing high-quality forage for honey bees and other pollinators. Participating farmers would need to include a minimum of three crops with at least 5% of acreage including the pollinator-friendly crop.
The NRCS is also filling positions needed to deliver technical assistance and other services to farmers across the country. NRCS Acting Chief Kevin Norton says that despite some disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NRCS was able to onboard ~2,900 new employees in fiscal year 2020.
Farmers can now enroll in Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price. More information on ARC and PLC include online decision tools. Enrollment ends March 15, 2021.
Want to increase profits on canola? Post-harvest is the best time for growers to evaluate how their hybrids fares by comparing yield data to cost of production. It’s also a great time to test soil to look for diseases to plan crop rotations.
Is canola (rapeseed) the next big plant-based protein? Several companies like Burcon NutraScience, Merit Foods and Nestlé think so. Unlike competitors wheat and soy, canola protein is not a major allergen and it’s not difficult to digest like pea protein. Read more in a USCA Blog post by Burcon CEO Johann Tergesen.
“Canola oil, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways …” writes U.S. Canola Association Director of Communications Angela Dansby in another USCA Blog post. From low saturated fat to high heat tolerance, canola oil offers many health and culinary benefits.
A new study by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), led by the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture Research, aims to identify genes that makes canola heat-tolerant. The study will last five years and hopes to enable the creation of more resilient crops as temperatures rise.
Growers in Manitoba, Canada have been reporting increased incidence of verticillium stripe that looks like blackleg or sclerotinia. This is likely due to dry heat last summer as verticillium thrives in this condition. Damage from this disease is currently unknown, but the Manitoba Canola Growers Association is offering free verticillium stripe testing of canola samples submitted to PSI Lab in Winnipeg.
More brands are betting on plant-based proteins and oils. Dairy brand Boursin will launch a vegan version of one of its fan favorites, Garlic & Herbs Cheese spread, on Amazon.com. It was developed with organic, expeller-pressed canola oil and will be sold in 2021.
U.S. renewable diesel producers are looking to cash in on Canada’s greener fuel standard before Canadian refiners modify their own plants. Canada has goals to cut 30 million tons of emissions by 2030. Canola oil can be used to make renewable diesel, which does not require blending for conventional diesel engines.
Aquaterra® from Nuseed is a one of three finalists for the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s 2020 Global Aquaculture Innovation Award. Aquaterra turns “canola plants into prolific producers of omega-3 oils and other nutritionally important fatty acids and the output can be used instead of oils from wild-caught fish as a part of aquafeed” per the alliance. Scientists achieved this by adding microalgae genes to canola plants, which can be scaled up to reduce pressure on fish.
The Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) will hold its 14th Annual Research Conference online on Thursday, Nov. 5. Regional canola researchers will present findings from 2020 projects. A Zoom link to join is on the NCGA’s website and Facebook page. On Dec. 8, the NCGA will host its 23rdAnnual Canola Expo online. Jim Wiesemeyer of ProFarmer will headline it and Lesley Kelly of High Heels & Canola Fields will address handling stress and Ven Chapara will discuss clubroot in canola.
The U.S. Canola Association will hold its fall board meeting virtually via Zoom Nov. 9 and 10. Board members will receive agendas directly in the coming days.
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