Always encouraging to hear regional partners creating alternatives products that don’t sacrifice in its quality or operations.
Canola (Brassica family), not traditionally a southern crop, is an attractive commodity. It has the lowest saturated fat of any major vegetable oil, with a favorable mix of mono- and polyunsaturated fats. It’s also an excellent protein meal for animals.
“We found that canola as a winter crop has extremely good yields in the Southeast,” Robert said. “The climate is mild enough. Previous farmers didn’t have a market for it, nor did they have the right seed—this seed we use, specifically a winter type, is well adapted to the region.”
Winter oilseed crops like canola complement existing winter crops in the southeast and can be double-cropped, improving production of the following summer’s crops.
The company committed to non-GMO canola from the beginning. “Non-GMO canola doesn’t sacrifice yield and provides the necessity for crop rotation,” said Robert. “When we started, we didn’t see it becoming a high-demand item. But as acreage began to grow it made sense agronomically to focus on non-GMO, to coincide with a growing international market.”
Around 35,000 acres are now grown in the Southeast by more than 300 farmers.
Most of those farmers grow non-GMO canola, and a small number grow organic. But Davis said AgStrong aims to increase the number of organic canola growers, and they are encouraging new farmers that join the project to grow organic.
Read the full article at The Organic & Non-GMO Report.