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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Plans for Enid, Oklahoma Canola Crushing Plant Shelved as Canola Acreage Falls

As the price per bushel for canola has fallen from between $10 and $15 per bushel to $7.50 per bushel, growers across Oklahoma are abandoning the crop.

In 2013, the state’s farmers seeded 250,000 acres of winter canola, and Northstar Agri Industries was planning to build a canola crushing plant amid estimates that Oklahoma’s canola acreage would top a million acres by 2020. But after a decline in prices and adverse weather, Northstar has cancelled its plans for the plant in Enid, and an Oklahoma City co-operative oil mill announced it will stop crushing canola and will be relocating. Even Bryan Vail, a director with the Great Plains Canola Association, has not grown canola for a couple of years.

In addition to the fall in prices, a persistent drought damaged canola output in the spring of 2014 and prevented many farmers from planting in the fall of 2014 – hampering output for another season. Meanwhile, a bumper crop in Canada added to the downward pressure on prices. As a result, canola acreage in Oklahoma for 2014 fell to 150,000 acres – far below the 500,000 acres Northstar would need to support production at its proposed crushing plant.

Canola acreage of one million acres in Oklahoma is still a viable goal, according to Jeff Scott, president of the Great Plains Canola Association, however the timeline for achieving this target has changed. “It might take 10 to 12 years, instead of five to 10 like we were originally hoping for,” he said.

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