U.S. needs to increase canola acreage as demand for healthy oil rises, U.S. Canola Assn. says; U.S. consumers used more than 3 billion lbs. of canola oil in 2010, but imported 2.5 billion lbs. from Canada

WASHINGTON , September 19, 2011 (press release) – Consumer use of canola oil is greatly increasing, but the U.S. needs to step up its game to meet the growing demand. AFBF’s Tracy Grondine reports with Angela Dansby, communications director of the U.S. Canola Association.

Grondine: Canola oil has quickly become a favorite among consumers because of its health benefits, and, in turn, demand for canola is rising. U.S. consumers used more than 3 billion pounds of canola oil in 2010, importing about 2.5 billion pounds from Canada. Angela Dansby, communications director with the U.S. Canola Association, says the U.S. should be growing more canola.

Dansby: We do import a lot from Canada and Canadian growers are keeping up with the demand. The difference in terms of acreage planted is roughly 1 million acres in the United States compared to about 16 or 17 million up in Canada. Canada is the world’s number one exporter of Canola products and to put things in perspective, I’d say the U.S. is only probably producing about 25 percent of its demand.

Grondine: Dansby says that while North Dakota traditionally has produced the most canola—about 90 percent of the nation’s acreage—more areas are starting to grow the commodity.

Dansby: We’ve seen significant growth in the Great Plains in recent years and the potential is tremendous. You know typically that region has been a wheat monoculture and you theorize if you can work canola into rotations let’s say every three to four years in that wheat monoculture you quickly could get to a couple million acres of canola. Canola has proven time and time again to break up the weed and pest cycles in wheat, so it results actually in higher wheat yields when canola is worked into the rotation.

Grondine: Dansby says there’s been great interest from growers in learning more about producing canola. Her organization has led the charge to inform farmers of the product’s potential.

Dansby: That’s one of the goals of the U.S. Canola Association is to help remove any roadblocks that would prevent increasing acreage in the United States. Part of it is a little bit of a learning curve on behalf of growers in some areas because it is still considered a new crop.

Grondine: Tracy Grondine, Washington.

Grondine: We have two extra actualities with Angela Dansby, Communications Director for the U.S. Canola Association. In the first extra actuality she talks about canola’s potential. The cut runs seconds, in 3-2-1.

Dansby: There’s tremendous potential for canola in this country both from an agronomic standpoint and certainly from a healthy oil standpoint. The consumer demand is only going to continue to grow for healthy oil and for canola oil in particular because of its many health and culinary benefits.

Grondine: In the second extra actuality Dansby talks about canola oil’s affordability. The cut runs 6 seconds, in 3-2-1.

Dansby: It’s also an affordable oil, so in terms of value for health you just can’t beat canola oil.

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