Canola Quick Bytes
A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest
A Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through Nov. 21 was signed into law by President Trump on Sept. 27, the day after passage by the Senate with a vote of 82-15. The House cleared the CR on Sept. 19 by a vote of 301-123. Congress now has time to continue its work on for fiscal year 2020, which begins Oct. 1. To date, the full House annual appropriation bills has passed 10 of 12 of these bills and reported the remaining two out of committee. The full Senate has not yet cleared any to date but it has reported 10 of 12 appropriation bills out of committee.
The House and Senate have both reported out the FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. Both reports include language “encouraging” the Agriculture Research Service to continue the National Sclerotinia Initiative. Only the Senate report provides funding ($1 million) for the Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program, indicating that funding is for canola research.
The U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement was solidified on Sept. 25, harmonizing many agricultural commodity tariffs with countries in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP) as well as what had been agreed to in the TPP. However, the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) was disappointed that canola oil was not one of the tariff lines in the agreement, which it requested at the start of these negotiations. This initial deal covers tariffs only, not sanitary-phytosanitary issues or biotechnology. The Trump Administration says it is the basis for continued negotiations so U.S. canola tariffs could receive parity later.
Another round of U.S.-China trade negotiations will occur in early October following a staff level round the week of Sept. 16th. Indications are that there will be a recommitment to negotiations with a hold on further tariff escalation in spite of difficulties noted by the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR’s) office. This may have been foreshadowed by the recent Chinese announcement that it will once again purchase U.S. agricultural goods and suspend further retaliation.
House Democratic leadership, Ways and Means staff and the USTR continue to make progress on resolving outstanding issues in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Working groups reportedly sent written proposals on pharmaceuticals, labor, environment and enforcement in early August to USTR Robert Lighthizer, who responded in early September. Overall, the conversations have been positive and the goal is to reach a final agreement in the coming weeks so that the USMCA can be considered by Congress before year end.
USCA Washington staff attended the “American Farmers Rally for Passage of USMCA” on the National Mall Sept. 12. The event was organized by Farmers for Free Trade and attended by representatives of numerous farm organizations and members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, Ranking Member Kevin Brady of the House Ways and Means Committee, and U.S. Senator Steve Daines. The rally culminated in a “motorcade for trade” that traveled to key Congressional districts last summer promoting passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The USMCA will provide farmers with access to neighboring markets while maintaining zero tariffs. Rally participants urged Congress to move forward with the USMCA without further delay.
President Trump and the Administration are dealing with backlash following the decision to grant an additional 31 retroactive Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) in August under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The SREs undermine RFS volume requirements and result in reduced demand for biofuels, especially biodiesel. Members of Congress, state governors and industry stakeholders made the negative impacts that these decisions were having on the agricultural and biofuel industries, resulting in a series of meetings at the White House to discuss remedies. Learn more in this month’s USCA Blog.
The National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded three canola research grants through its Supplemental and Alternative Crops Program. The integrated canola research and extension projects will increase canola acreage in the Pacific Northwest through genetic and agronomic advancement, develop new winter canola varieties adapted for the Great Plains, and advance production and pest management of the crop in the Northern Plains. The University of Idaho, Kansas State University and North Dakota State University will conduct these research projects, respectively.
Are you complying with the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard? A new Disclosure Determination Tool is available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website to help you answer this question. This tool can also help you determine which foods must be disclosed as bioengineered. Canola oil derived from biotech seed, for example, is exempt as it does not contain any genetic material.
Late season canola plant stems can tell you a lot about disease pressure from stem diseases, including sclerotinia, blackleg and clubroot, according to Real Agriculture. Tune into this and other Canola School articles and videos.
The meatless burger craze is on and canola oil is in the middle of it, literally, as an ingredient in Beyond Burger and Awesome Burger. Unfortunately, the use of this healthy oil is offset by the addition of coconut oil, which drives up the saturated fat content of these plant-based burgers. However, they do not contain cholesterol like their beef counterparts. Beyond Burgers are sold at upscale restaurants, fast-food and casual-dining chains like Carl’s Jr. and TGI Fridays as well as Target for home cooking. Awesome Burgers will be sold at supermarkets around the country, including Wegmans, Safeway and HyVee, starting Oct. 1.
MSN.com touted canola oil as very high in heart-healthy monounsaturated and omega-3 fats. It dismissed a flawed, small study that linked the oil to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia two years ago.
Other Country News
As a result of the China-Canada trade war, Canadian canola farmers are expecting their smallest harvest in four years, Reuters reports. Production is expected to reach 18.5 million tonnes, down 9% since last year, and below the average trade estimate of 18.9 million tonnes.
“The closed Chinese market has increased awareness and interest in the European biodiesel/industrial canola market — but it’s one that requires a sustainability agreement, and doesn’t carry a premium,” reports RealAgriculture. Europe’s poor weather and insect pressure this year has decreased its own production, allowing for more imports from Canada and Ukraine. But that requires exporter declaration regarding pesticide use, storage, and land clearing as well as the potential of on-farm assessments. Still, the EU market cannot compensate for China in terms of Canadian exports.
Latest Industry News
Burcon NutraScience of western Canada and its partners have now funded their full share of capital contributions to Merit Functional Foods Corporation as planned. Merit Foods is continuing the buildout of the C$65 million pea and canola protein production facility. This flexible plant will process Supertein®, Puratein® and Nutratein® canola proteins.
WinCup, a leading manufacturer of disposable foodservice to-go ware, is launching biodegradable straws and stirrers made with canola oil under the brand phade™. They are made of naturally occurring substances called PHAs, which are plastic-like but biodegradable in both marine and soil environments. Beverages served with them are sure to be “winning cups.”
Mark your calendars! The Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) will hold its 13th Annual Canola Research Conference on Thursday, Nov. 7 in Fargo, N.D., in the Alumni Center of North Dakota State University. Canola researchers from the region will present their 2019 findings. The NCGA will also host its 22nd Annual Canola Expo in Langdon, N.D., on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Elaine Kub, media commentator and author of “Mastering the Markets,” will speak about oilseed markets. NDSU Extension staff and a Canadian expert will discuss the latest on canola clubroot research. Beyond a trade show, the expo will include the NCGA annual membership meeting and NDSU pesticide re-certification.
About the USCA
The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) gave its website a facelift, updated its content and made it mobile phone-friendly. Check out UScanola.com for a modern look and current information about all things canola from its roots to end products.
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The USCA fall board of directors’ meeting will be Tuesday-Thursday, Nov. 12-14 in Spokane, Wash., at The Historic Davenport Hotel. The meeting will begin Tuesday with a reception in the late afternoon. The board meeting will be all day Wednesday and the next day will be a tour of Viterra’s processing plant in Warden followed by a farm reception. On Friday, Nov. 15, the USCA and Pacific Northwest Canola Association will conduct a session on regional canola production at a tri-state meeting independent of the USCA board meeting. Registration for the latter is online and hotel rooms should be booked under the USCA group rate by Oct. 18.
Want to promote your products or services to canola producers and industry members? Visit the USCA advertising section online to find specs, deadlines and rates to advertise in this monthly e-newsletter or on UScanola.com.