New canola association gains certification, seeks directors

The Pacific Northwest Canola Association is a step closer to reality.

The Pacific Northwest Canola Association has received its certificate of incorporation from Washington state as a multi-state nonprofit organization.

The association will include farmers in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana, said Karen Sowers, Washington State University Extension outreach specialist for oilseeds.

“It’s the first big step,” Sowers said.

The association is formalizing its bylaws.

Under current draft bylaws, the association will offer four levels of membership, ranging from $500 per year to $5,000 per year, with a voting seat on the board of directors at the $5,000 per year level.

Sowers is taking nominations of producer members for the board of directors. The nominees will be placed on a ballot. The association is seeking nominations of at least two growers from each state.

Sowers has an email contact list of 300 canola growers in the four states.

Sowers said the association also welcomes farmers in their first year of growing canola or who are thinking about trying it.

“I guess there’s not an ‘ideal’ candidate, just a passion for growing canola and knowing it makes sense in a rotation wherever you may be in the Pacific Northwest,” she said.

Canola is priced about 19 cents per pound for GMO canola to 20.5 cents per pound for non-GMO canola.

Spring canola harvest should begin the week of Aug. 7. Sowers expects average yields. Early yields look good, but the summer heat is “pretty wicked,” she said.

Most of the winter canola harvest is done, Sowers said. She expects average to above average yields, due to extended snow cover and spring moisture.

Sowers hopes to ramp up the search for an executive director in the fall. She said the association wants someone with a passion for and understanding of the region’s canola industry.

Draft bylaws currently state the association will meet twice a year. Sowers hopes the association will be official by the end of the year.

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