Local News

More Farmers Filling Land With Canola Plants

Posted October 31, 2007

— Lower prices for cotton and peanuts have helped back many farmers into a corner, compounding the effect of the drought, but the canola plant might just be a light at the end of their tunnel.

Tim Phelps grows a variety of crops on his Northampton County farm from peanuts and cotton to soybeans. He said the future of farming might lie with the canola plant.

“Just put it in the ground about a half-inch deep and wait for the rain," he said.

Phelps said he hopes that one day the canola plant will grow 4 feet tall. He would like to sell canola oil to bio-diesel fuel companies.

“We're hoping that it [the canola plant] will prosper and give us some more alternatives to peanuts and other crops that we're having such a hard time with," Phelps said.

Phelps is not alone. Statewide, there is 10 times more canola production than three years ago.

“There's a tremendous opportunity in agriculture,” Vann Rogerson.

Rogerson is the president of the North Carolina Northeast Commission, which promotes economic development in 16 counties. His group encourages farmers to diversify their crops and market to bio-diesel fuel companies.

“With all those alternative products that they haven't been growing in the past, there's now a lot of future, particularly in the bio-engineered area,” Rogerson said.

Some standard crops, like peanuts and cotton, can also be used for bio-diesel fuel production, but the canola plant produces more than twice the amount of oil.


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  • jkuwalik2 Nov 1, 2007

    msn,jkuwalik2, ETG, we can all safely say you've never had to rely on farming to make a living

    Never said I did and you seem defensive on this issue, why????

  • msncdso Oct 31, 2007

    jkuwalik2, ETG, we can all safely say you've never had to rely on farming to make a living. Anyone still trying to hang on in farming has probably already made a huge financial investment, by the time you get this expensive equipment paid for it's worn out and you have to start all over. I know other businesses are the same way, but for the most part farmers are trying to put food on their tables and ours.

  • jkuwalik2 Oct 31, 2007

    want us (YES I SAID US) to give them money cause they couldnt harvest most of their crops sounds really bad dont it, guess what if they had Insurance on

    Fortuneatly there are no subsudies for tabacco anymore. Those went out the window with the buy out 6-7 years ago.

  • ETG Oct 31, 2007

    China, Tobacco Companys been getting over seas tobacco for many many years, people just dont know that, and the North Carolina Farms didnt want to know it they think its only grown here in this state. Now that we had a drought and their crops didnt do so good they want us (YES I SAID US) to give them money cause they couldnt harvest most of their crops sounds really bad dont it, guess what if they had Insurance on it, they shouldnt need our money but the poor farmers are so broke and poor living in a house with a dirt floor in it,NOT, the farmers think we owe them that money because they grow crops sounds crazy but true. Tell me what other company the government gives them money because they having a bad year besides Airports. Look farming is like playing in Vegas you win some you loss some, thats why you should save for the rainy days and the not so rainy days. I still want to meet the farmer that is worse off then the every day person or the small business owner.

  • jkuwalik2 Oct 31, 2007

    RaleighRob, chances are that there is already enough being grown for food products. Bio-diesel is a good idea. We probably import canola from china. The have to have multiple products to get rid of all that lead.

  • RaleighRob Oct 31, 2007

    Interesting the article goes on about possible biofuel. But what about the already proven use: Canola cooking oil?

  • jkuwalik2 Oct 31, 2007

    rjar5, amen brother

  • jkuwalik2 Oct 31, 2007

    Realizing that Northampton county has a long history with tobacco, I find it comforting that they have turned to a different crop. I know the area well. I, at one time had the misfortune of dating a girl from Northampton County (seaboard). She and her whole family was a complete nightmare. I helped them with a very dificult time in their lives and then they turned on me. I found them to be extremely shallow and ungratful. She made false accusations against a school psychologist, put him in prison and then confessed to me that he really did not do what they accused him of. the reason she had him charged wa because she was afraid her father would do something stupid (par for the course for him) and go to prison himself. I do not hold that against the county, I have done a considerable amount of business up that way. Generally, a good group of folks, with a few bad seeds. Hope the county has sucess with canola, I know the area needs the money.

  • rjar5 Oct 31, 2007

    Hemp has a far better return.

  • thewayitis Oct 31, 2007

    Canola plant? Isn't it called rapeseed?