Canola and other oilseed growers are getting new opportunities for their crop in the biofuel industry as one of the different oils that the alternative energy source comes from.
Bioenergy Coordinator at the Washington State Department of Agriculture Mary Beth Lang says canola is still a growing industry in the state, but improvements in infrastructure could open the door for biofuel.
“We have the largest canola crushing facility in the Western U.S. right her in Washington in Warden. And we have the largest biodiesel refinery that uses canola here in Washington State as well.”
Lang says all that is needed is the crop, but growers are still unsure about canola and how it can fit in their crop rotations and whether it can be profitable.
Lang hopes that farmers throughout Washington understand that canola can be a good option for them.
“It can give them better options for weed control, improve their soil tilth, it can diversify their marketing. There’s no one answer, but I think what is different today is that we have some new markets for growers.”
The Washington State Renewable Fuel Standard currently mandates at least two percent of diesel sold in Washington is biodiesel, but that could increase to five percent when WSDA approves in-state production can meet this requirement.