Plan allows canola in Willamette Valley

The state Department of Agriculture is pressing ahead with its plan to allow canola production in the Willamette Valley, but the agency now proposes sharply limiting the amount that can be grown.

Clean-energy advocates and some farmers are eager to expand production of canola, but it has been banned from the Willamette Valley for years. The yellow-flowering plant produces seeds that can be pressed for oil to use in renewable fuels, but they also bring new pests and can cross-pollinate with sensitive plants that produce organic vegetable seeds.

The Agriculture Department sparked controversy last year when it cut in half the region where farmers are prohibited from growing canola — a plan that was ultimately halted by an appeals court.

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