Commission has canola’s back

As canola becomes a mainline crop in the Pacific Northwest, growers are getting help from a “new” marketing order called the Washington Oilseeds Commission, launched by the state Legislature earlier this year.

Commission has canola’s back

As canola becomes a mainline crop in the Pacific Northwest, growers are getting help from a “new” marketing order called the Washington Oilseeds Commission, launched by the state Legislature earlier this year.

The framework of the commission isn’t new since it has been around for years as the Washington Canola and Rapeseed Commission, but the influx of canola planting led the industry to successfully request the Legislature to rename it as the Washington Oilseeds Commission.

Key Points

Canola commission will fund crop research in Washington.

Growing acreage in canola focuses new interest on oilseed crop.

The commission is ramping up a new website for crop information.

Goal: Promote industry

With a target set to promote the general welfare of the industry, including rapeseed and mustard, the new commission has set an assessment of a 10 cents per hundredweight on each commodity when used for oil, meal, condiment, seeds for planting or other industrial purposes.

Assessments this year should total $30,000, according to former administrator Dan Ollero at the Pasco headquarters for the commission. Ollero has left the commission, which is in the process of seeking a new administrator.

Pacific Coast Canola, the newly opened Washington canola processing facility in Warden, is already an active part of the new commission, with Steve Starr, PCC vice president of seed procurement, serving as the unit’s only handler representative.

“The former commission really did not have much activity,” notes Starr. “But with 30,000 acres in Washington canola — a lot of it in rather new plantings — we can generate enough money to do some good research and promotion.”

Grant proposals will be solicited by the commission, which will issue research funding for accepted projects.

Bigger Web to come

The current website is being updated into a “comprehensive source of agronomic information on canola,” says Starr.

“We anticipate offering the best and most thorough source of canola information in the West,” he adds. “A lot of new research is needed for canola, which really has not been the subject of a lot of agronomic studies to date.”

Already the commission has funded USDA Agricultural Research Service and Washington State University variety trials, which were reported on during mid-May canola tours.

The commission will also co-sponsor the Direct Seed & Oilseeds Cropping Systems conference in the Tri-Cities next year. The oilseeds segment was added to the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association conference earlier this year.

“We on the commission hope to change all of that,” says Starr.

Grower Terry Morgan, a Rosalia producer, chairs the commission, which includes producers Chris Lyle of Richville and Del Teade of Colfax.

Elections are being conducted for two other producer commissioners.

The commission framework as the Canola and Rapeseed Commission dates back to 1998. Two commissioners who served under that title ended their terms in May.

Board meetings are held four times yearly, with the next conference call session set for November.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture monitors marketing orders for the industry. Contact program representative Jason Ferrante at 360-902-1921, or jferrante@agr.wa.gov.

The U.S. Canola Association publishes a digest four times a year, with an additional winter canola edition once annually. It is available online, or via mail. Go to www.uscanola.com for information.

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BIG INTEREST: More than 100 visitors attended a mid-May meeting on canola in Douglas County, Wash., mirroring a mounting interest in producing the oilseed crop.

This article published in the July, 2014 edition of WESTERN FARMER-STOCKMAN.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2014.

Crop Management

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