Northern Exposure

Canola, soybean growers team with renderers to form Biodiesel Association of Canada (BAC)
By Jessica Williams | March 01, 2004
As biodiesel production and use grows in the United States and flourishes in Europe, Canadian canola and soybean growers have teamed with renderers to create a national coalition specifically aimed at building-and shaping-the industry north of the border.

The Biodiesel Association of Canada (BAC) was formed in December 2003 to support government efforts to foster the growth of Canada's biodiesel industry. The BAC will advance proposed policies, legislation and regulations-on both a national and provincial level-that will impact the biodiesel industry. The association will also strive to broaden the scope of domestic and export market opportunities for biodiesel. Like its American and European counterparts, the BAC will become a source of information on all aspects of biodiesel, taking part in studies, research and development, and discussion forums.

Brad Hanmer, a 30-year-old canola farmer from Goven, Saskatchewan, has been selected as the BAC's chairman. Hanmer owns his family's canola business, Hanmer Seeds Ltd., and is active on several agricultural boards, including the Canadian Canola Growers. He was also named the BAC's spokesman.

"The BAC wanted to bring commercial interest to Canada," Hanmer said. "A lot of good [biodiesel] research has been done worldwide, and we wanted to form a group that could build upon that research and foster economic interest of how biodiesel can work. For any research projects that are being done, we wanted to be a one-stop shop for communication for how biodiesel could be brought to light."

Rick Watson of the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association (COPA) was named the vice chair of the BAC. Watson is also the vice president of Oil Processing for Bunge Canada in Toronto.

The inaugural meeting was held in December 2003 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The latest meeting on Feb. 24, again in Winnipeg, addressed government issues the group is working on. Technical and economic committees, along with subcommittees, have been formed to deal with these issues.

The 10-member BAC board consists of three Canadian Oilseed Processors Association members, three Canadian Renderers Association members, three Canola Growers Association members and one member from the Ontario Soybean Growers.

"We didn't want to be exclusive," Hanmer said. "We wanted to make sure that all potential feedstocks and economic regions that would allow biodiesel production to occur wouldn't be left out."

Hanmer is perhaps the ideal spokesperson for the BAC because of his self-declared neutrality.

"I'm not a biodiesel supplier," Hanmer told Biodiesel Magazine. "I'm a raw product feedstock grower just trying to get the biodiesel industry established."

With last year's removal of the 4-cents-per-liter excise tax, Canada's biodiesel industry now has the opportunity to grow. In addition, Canada has the agricultural products to support a biodiesel industry, mainly canola and soybeans. Canola, the largest crop grown in the country, spreads across 14 million acres. Saskatchewan is the top canola-producing province. About 46 percent of the country's canola originates there. As for soybeans, approximately 500,000 acres grow in Canada, mainly in Ontario.

According to Hanmer, the BAC will use the European Biodiesel Board and the National Biodiesel Board in the United States as models for its own organization.

"What our American friends have done is broken the trail," Hanmer told Biodiesel Magazine. "We can look at that path and see which one we want to take. We're prepared to work together on many issues. Having the National Biodiesel Board is a fundamental alliance to bring biodiesel to fruition in Canada."

Hanmer said he feels an international biodiesel association should be formed in the future. He said inquiries about that type of organization have already been made and the possibility is being investigated. ,
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