Canola producers want more biofuel included in diesel

Boosting biofuel requirements would increase canola demand hurt by China trade barriers

Boosting the amount of biofuels in diesel could provide new markets for hard-hit canola producers and encourage more processing capacity, says Alberta Canola.

The association representing canola producers is lobbying the province to boost the amount of biofuels in diesel to five per cent from the existing two per cent.

Alberta’s fuel standard also dictates gasoline sold here must meet a minimum five per cent average of renewable fuels, such as ethanol.

Alberta Canola chairman John Guelly said providing another market for canola would help a farming sector that lost about 40 per cent of its export market in a trade dispute — which shows no signs of ending — with China.

While new markets have been found for canola in Europe and Bangladesh, they have not replaced China’s buying power.

“It’s very tough to replace a customer who takes 40 per cent of your seed.”

Canola producers are hopeful trade issues with China can be resolved, but “there’s no sign it’s going to turn around anytime soon,” he said.

“But you never know. Things seem to happen overnight, sometimes. As fast as the tap gets shut off, it gets reopened.

“We really feel if the mandate was built, there would be more crush facilities built,” said Guelly. “It would be a big stimulator for the industry.

“If they knew there was going to be a supply for the next few years, we’ve heard from a lot of companies they’d be willing to build new crush facilities or increase the size of the ones we already have.”

That means increasing the value-added part of the canola business, which boosts economic development and creates jobs.

It is easier and cheaper to export canola oil than seed, which further helps the industry, whose farmers produced nearly six million tonnes of canola last year.

As well, increasing biofuels fits in with efforts to reduce the province’s carbon footprint and the movement toward more environmental sustainability.

Alberta Canola met with Premier Jason Kenney last summer to pitch its idea, which has also been raised with several government ministers, including Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen.

There has been no commitment yet. Alberta’s current renewable fuel standard expires in January, so canola producers believe the timing is good to make changes.

The canola group and the three other major crop associations that form Team Alberta called on governments to take action to reduce trade barriers.

Farmers’ financial problems have been exasperated by what Guelly has called the “harvest from hell,” because of the amount of crop that can’t be harvested because of the snow.

“Aggressive action from our governments on trade, BRMs (business risk management programs) and the carbon tax is a must,” said Guelly in a statement.

Alberta Pulse Growers chairman Don Shepert said it’s the third bad harvest in the past four years.

“We can’t control the weather, but it’s time for our governments to resolve the political issues that we can control,” said Shepert.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kenney pledges $100M toward Red Deer hospital improvements

Premier Jason Kenney has committed $100 million toward improvements at Red Deer… Continue reading

RDC athlete apologizes for racist slur

A Red Deer College athlete has apologized for using a racial slur… Continue reading

Innisfail man killed in single-vehicle collision

RCMP said car hit a pole just northwest of Innisfail early on Wednesday

Sylvan Lake senior injured when ambulance gurney flips at Red Deer hospital

A Sylvan Lake senior suffered a number of injuries on her way… Continue reading

VIDEO: Grumpy sea lion resists help back to water in Washington state

Crews were able to coax her into a crate to carry her back to water

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

David Marsden: Finally, a healthy prognosis for our hospital

The announcement of $100 million toward improvements to Red Deer Regional Hospital… Continue reading

Police intervention in Kahnawake would be act of provocation, First Nation says

Protesters reinforced a rail blockade on the Kahnawake Mohawk territory south of… Continue reading

Alberta must juggle sluggish economy, big deficits, lost jobs in upcoming budget

EDMONTON — Alberta is to bring in its new budget Thursday while… Continue reading

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

OTTAWA — Health Minister Patty Hajdu is encouraging Canadians to stockpile food… Continue reading

New Brunswick maintains position on abortions and Canada Health Act

FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government is standing firm in its position… Continue reading

Bolder actions, words from protesters behind Quebec and Ontario rail blockades

Protesters behind rail blockades in Quebec and Ontario ramped up their actions… Continue reading

Most Read