Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Benefits of growing canola for fuel AND food

Here's a post from Becky a farmer in E. WA:

I'd like to add a little firsthand info here as to growing BD feed stocks. We're farmers in Eastern Washington. We grew 260 acres of canola last year and had another 260 acres planted for 2008. I drive a VW Passat diesel and a 1999 Ford F-350 diesel (when I have to have the pulling/hauling power) running 100% Washington grown canola oil BD (except during the winter when I have to blend) in both of them. I pay full price for my canola BD and will continue to do so to support my local BD processor and the local Eastern Washington economy.

Our canola is grown with minimal inputs, no pesticides and supports a huge number of honeybee hives for local apiaries during the June bloom, which greatly improves their health and general wellbeing. And for those thinking the land used to grow this canola is taking away from other food crops, it's not. It's grown on ground that would otherwise be left empty, or fallow, producing nothing. So, we're not reducing food production at all on our farmland...we're increasing it. The canola meal is a highly sought after feed for all kinds of livestock from cattle, milk cows, poultry, etc.. In fact, the dairy farmers absolutely love it because it increases the butter
fat and omega3 fatty acids in their milk.
Just thought some of you might be interested with what some of your
Washington farmers are doing.

She added this later:

The honey bee industry is in really big trouble right now due to unexplained diseases and losses in hives all over the world. It is critical to the health of the bees to have a large, highly nutritious source of pollen and nectar to recover from being hauled down to California and back up during the fruit and nut pollination season. The canola provides that critical need at just the right time.

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