Thomas G. Chastain
A resolution to the long-disputed prohibition of canola production in the Willamette Valley is near with the announcement that a temporary rule is set to go in effect on August 10th. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has determined that canola production will be allowed in specified portions of the Willamette Valley. A permanent administrative rule governing canola production in the region is expected to be in place prior to the expiration of the temporary rule.
The rule will protect the interests of the vegetable seed producers in the region while allowing canola production to take place in locations that are generally unsuitable for production of the high value Brassica spp. vegetable seed crops. The locations to be permitted in the valley for canola production have not been areas where Brassica spp. vegetable seed crops have historically been grown. This ruling would permit farmers in the zones where canola will be allowed to grow a broad-leaved rotation crop in canola. These locations have been dominated by grass seed crops and have had few opportunities to grow economic rotation crop species like canola.
The physical separation of canola from Brassica spp. vegetable seed crops will enable the coexistence of these crops in the Willamette Valley. Previous commercial production of canola for oil as well as canola grown for planting seed in the Willamette Valley, and Oregon State University’s field trials support this contention.
Information on this ruling including the temporary rule, maps of the affected area, and more can be found here: