Georgia oilseed farmers hope a new-generation cooperative for oilseeds will help them bring money and jobs into rural Georgia. The co-op is now in the early stages of development.
The co-op will market oilseed (canola, soybean, cotton and
products to grocery or other retail outlets. A meeting for
interested in the co-op is scheduled May 3 at the Georgia Farm
Bureau building in Macon, Ga.
"This will bring the farmers a greater dollar value and
jobs and money into Georgia's rural economy," said Randy
Hudson, coordinator of the Emerging Crops and Technologies Center
of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and
And the Study Says
A UGA CAES study funded by the governor's office says such a
could be built and economically supported in Georgia. The
and refining facility would primarily convert seeds from canola
and soybeans into oils. But it could handle cotton and peanuts,
To get the facility up and running, according to the study, would
cost about $56 million. However, it would add about $172 million
in economic activity to the Georgia economy.
Running the facility at full capacity would take about 250,000
acres of oilseed, said George Shumaker, a UGA Extension Service
economist. Besides the 53 jobs it would create directly, about
1,100 jobs would be created indirectly, mostly in rural
Most of the canola used in the United States comes from Canada.
This new facility will help Georgia farmers compete for the
canola market, Hudson said.
Canola oil is the preferred oil for many uses because it doesn't
change the taste of food, Hudson said. It's used for home
bakeries and salad oils, and some restaurants fry foods with
Forming a farmer-owned canola facility in Georgia would have
effect on the price of canola oil for consumers, Shumaker
But farmers will have to come together for such a facility to
work, said Marty McLendon, a Calhoun County farmer who has grown
canola in the past.
"We want to remain individuals, but we have to be
together," McLendon said. "We have to have a large
of growers join forces and get a supply large enough that we can
have a stable supply on the grocery store shelf. That's the only
way we're going to survive farming.
"If we can get a plant or processing facility to let the
farmers gain more control in the marketplace," McLendon
"it's got very good potential. We've got to get a market
established. That's the main holdback for the expansion of
Growing and selling canola won't turn around the current farm
crisis "by any means," McLendon said. "We can't
grow enough to do that. But it would be another tool in the
of agriculture. (It) gives us something else to work
Published on 04/26/01
Farmers to Meet on Proposed Oilseed Co-op
Brad Haire is the former news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
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