There is currently a large demand for vegetable oil in the U.S. and internationally. The two driving forces are high petroleum prices and the associated demand for healthy (low saturated fat) cooking oils, as well as the ever-increasing interest in on-farm bio-diesel production.

Whether oil-seed crops are used for bio-diesel production or healthy cooking oil choices, canola and other oil-seed crops have unique and rapidly expanding market opportunities. These opportunities are prompting a strong interest from farmers to learn more about producing and market opportunities for these oil-seeds.

To address many of these questions, Texas AgriLife Extension Service will host a meeting on the feasibility, marketing, and agronomics of numerous oil-seed crops for Texas, including canola, sunflower, safflower, flax, and sesame. On-farm bio-diesel production will also be discussed and a mobile bio-diesel unit will be demonstrated at the end of the meeting.

The mobile bio-diesel unit is a fully self-contained unit that includes an oil-seed press (extruder) and a bio-diesel unit (trans esterificaiton process). The unit is set-up in a vendor-type trailer and everything is very visible. The bio-diesel unit can use virgin vegetable oil (from the press) or be used as cooking oil.

At the meeting, plans are in place to press canola seed and show the oil and meal that results from the pressing. Also, we will make bio-diesel.

This oil-seed meeting will be held on Nov. 13 at the Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center in Corpus Christi, located at 10345 State Highway 44, just west of the Corpus Christi International Airport.

Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m. and the meeting will conclude by 4 p.m.

Topics to be covered include: cost of production, market outlook, economic considerations, markets and delivery points, spring canola production, sunflower, safflower, flax and sesame production.

Anyone interested in producing oil-seed crops, marketing oil-seed crops, or on-farm fuel production are encouraged to participate in this meeting.

To aid in planning, all those wanting to participate in this meeting are asked to pre-register by Nov. 10 by contacting the Nueces County Extension Office at 767-5223.

There will be no fee for the meeting. The Producers Cooperative Oil Mill is sponsoring a noon meal.

Pesticide applicators will be able to earn two CEUs for participating in this meeting.

Jeffrey Stapper is the Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent for Nueces County. Readers may contact him at (361) 767-5217.