It’s planting season for Georgia canola growers. This year, the seeds have been planted for a better market for the emerging crop. “We haven’t had commodity canola production in Georgia for two years,” said Paul Raymer, an agronomist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in Griffin, Ga. “All the canola grown in Georgia has been grown on contract,” Raymer said. “But this year two crushers have shown interest in seeing commodity canola revived so they would have an oilseed commodity they could buy. They see a market here for it.” GRIFFIN DAILY NEWS/BOB FREITAG NEW MARKETS will allow Georgia canola farmers to sell their crop in-state. Crushing facilities in Vienna and Dawson, Ga. offer close to world prices for Georgia-grown canola. University of Georgia agronomist Paul Raymer, pictured above, said he and other UGA scientists are working to learn more about the crop to help Georgia famers who want to include this oilseed in their crop rotation. Request the high-res image. Farmers grow grain crops mostly as openly marketed commodities. Companies with special needs, though, sometimes offer contracts for farmers to grow a certain amount of a specific type of grain. When Calgene, the major contractor for canola in the state, offered no new contracts to Georgia farmers, the crop’s future here looked bleak. Most canola is grown in Canada. The crop is struggling to catch on in the Southeast, where it is grown mainly in the coastal plain from Alabama to South Carolina. “Previously, we had a buyer for the commodity canola crop,” Raymer said. “But in most years, the price offered was below the world price.” Harvested canola is delivered to a processing plant, where the oil is extracted from the seed in a crushing process. The result is two products, oil and meal. The meal is used in livestock rations. One of the new canola crushers in the state is Mid-Georgia Processing in Vienna, Ga. “They were built about three years ago as a cotton crushing plant,” Raymer said. “In recent months, they’ve seen the need to diversify and crush other products like canola.” The other new crusher is Cargill Peanut in Dawson, Ga. “They’ve been doing some limited crushing of canola for the past six years,” Raymer said. “They’re planning to expand that now.” The two firms’ commitment to canola pumps fresh hope into the crop, which Raymer believes has great potential as a money-maker for Georgia farmers. “Having these two new crushers gives us a viable market,” he said. “In the past, we’ve had to rely on a market based largely on the expectation that the crop would be shipped to Canada for crushing,” he said. “Prices were discounted to compensate for that low volume and the need to ship it long distance for crushing.” The crushers are finding Southeastern markets for the oil and meal. “We import large amounts of oil and meal in the Southeast, the meal primarily for use in the poultry industry. They will try to market the product here,” Raymer said. It’s a modest beginning that could make the future as bright as the crop’s dramatic fields of yellow flowers. “In the long term, it means we finally have markets we can start to grow an industry around,” Raymer said. “If you don’t have someone to buy it (at a good price), it’s hard to develop an industry. This puts us on equal footing with other canola-producing regions of the world.” Raymer and other UGA scientists have been developing canola varieties and growing techniques to make the crop work in Georgia. “We’ve had a strong research and extension effort for the past eight years,” he said. “We just released the first variety from our breeding program this year. It’s available to growers on a very limited basis now.” UGA scientists at the Griffin and Tifton, Ga., experiment stations have been developing a Southeastern production system for canola. “We’ve had a strong collaborative effort with industry to develop this new crop for the Southeast,” Raymer said. “We’ve conducted research to determine the proper planting dates, planting and harvest methods and fertility requirements,” he said. “And we’ve developed ways to control insects and diseases.”
Mangano said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that public works employees began treating roadways at 5 a.m. in a preemptive strike to prevent black ice. He said more than 200 employees will be battling the storm, adding that the county had more than 100 assets, including plows and spreaders, out in the streets. The county also has on hand more than 13,000 tons of salt.Suffolk officials said the county had a fleet of more than 300 vehicles working on snow removal and spreading salt across county roads. The county has in stock between 16,000 to 18,000 tons of salt and sand, a county spokeswoman said.“The roads can be treacherous due to the snow accumulations as well as the freezing conditions,” she said. “We want people to be very careful as they’re traveling on the roads.”The county also announced that its bus system, Suffolk County Transit, will cease operations at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will start up again at 8 a.m. Wednesday.The cold is also expected to be a factor because of an arctic air mass that moved into the region. The arctic air mass, which breaks off and travels south, should send temperatures plunging into the teens. Forecasters also warned that strong sustained winds and gusts topping 35 mph could produce a wind chill of 10 degrees below zero.Tell us on Facebook: Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A winter storm barreling toward Long Island will drop up to 14 inches of snow on the region, the National Weather Service said. (Photo: Satellite image/National Weather Service)Get home early and stay indoors.That was the message relayed from both government and transportation officials to Long Islanders as a strong winter storm barreled into the area early Tuesday afternoon, wreaking havoc on major roadways and snarling traffic across the Island.As the storm was fast approaching, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone declared a state of emergency and urged drivers to stay off the roads.Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano asked residents to heed warnings from forecasters who were predicting “near blizzard like conditions” throughout the afternoon and evening.“This will make the evening commute treacherous,” Mangano said. “So we urge residents that can leave work a little early to do so and those that are already home to stay home.”New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Nassau and Suffolk and warned of a “one-two punch” of snow and bone-chilling cold. “I urge all those in the affected regions to exercise caution, and avoid travel if possible,” Cuomo said. “State resources are deployed to clear snow and help those impacted by the storm, but above all it is important that New Yorkers remain safe both during and after the storm.”A winter storm warning remains in effect for both counties until 6 a.m. Wednesday.The Upton-based National Weather Service at 4 p.m. Tuesday dropped its projected snowfall totals from 10 to 14 inches to 8 to 12.Forecasters also warned that the worst is yet to come.Tim Morrin, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said the coastal storm will be at its “absolute worst” between 7 p.m. and 4 a.m.Light snowfall began falling Tuesday morning, but wasn’t a major factor during the morning commute.Things quickly changed around lunch time.The Long Island Rail Road, which was reporting minor weather-related delays on four of its branches, urged riders to leave work early because the storm arrived earlier than expected.Traffic on major roads moved at a snails pace due to snow quickly accumulating on roadways.The storm also forced Long Island MacArthur Airport to cancel all flights after 3:15 p.m.