The race for ingredients to make green diesel and sustainable jet fuel is bringing Canada’s namesake crop into the American Deep South.
Chevron is teaming up with grains handler Bunge Ltd. and seed company Corteva to plant as many as 10 million additional acres of canola in the Southern U.S.
The initial plan calls for farmers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee to sow the oilseed as a second seasonal crop after soybeans or cotton, boosting revenue potential and providing vegetable oils that are in high demand, according to Corteva.
Petroleum companies like Chevron, lured by subsidies to make cleaner burning products, are increasingly turning to biofuels. That’s led to a wave of deals between Big Oil and Big Agriculture as producers try to secure a steady supply of sustainable ingredients. Farmers are poised to gain too by increasing levels of productivity and sustainability on their land.
Bunge Chevron Ag Renewables, a joint venture between Bunge and Chevron, will buy the winter canola crop from growers and use the oil to produce renewable fuel. Acreage will be driven by future capacity to process the canola into oil and meal. There’s potential for 10 million acres in the U.S. South, Corteva said.
The U.S. overall harvested almost 2.2 million acres of canola in 2022, a record amount.
Canada, the world’s largest canola grower, developed the oilseed in the 1960s. The name derives from “Canadian oil.”
Demand and American acreage for the crop are expected to expand after the Biden administration approved it last year for use in making renewable diesel and other biofuels, qualifying fuels blended with the oilseed to meet national standards.