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Local farmers say the winter canola crop is shaping the future of the industry in our region

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The beauty of a field northeast of Miami, OK is drawing some attention, after a new and unique crop is proving to be largely successful in our region.

Local farmers say that success is driving the future of the industry.

The golden glow from a field off Rockdale Road is constantly compelling drivers to pull over.

"We saw that field and it just caught my eye," said Bonnie Buzzard, resident of Wyandotte, OK.

"Oh, this is the most beautiful field I've ever seen," said Kay Woodward, resident of Seneca, MO.

The 80-acre field is filled with more than 14 million flowers, averaging from 4 to 5 feet tall.

A sight inspiring to all ages.

"They're pretty," said Elin Vaughn, 4-year-old. "God made them."

This is the third and most successful year farmer Brent Rendel has planted the winter canola crop.

New to our area, Rendel says the tri-state region is proving to be the perfect climate for the plants to thrive in.

They're used to make canola oil, and the demand is high.

"We don't grow enough canola to meet demand," Rendel said. "Every bushel has a home. All the processors want every bit of it they can get."

His canola crop is expected to average about 50 bushels per acre, with each bushel worth $7, compared to $5 a bushel for wheat.

"I'm not going to replace all of my wheat acres with canola anytime soon, but I can see that down the road," Rendel said.

Rendel says the crop does require extra work, due to it being popular for bugs to prey upon, and seed planting requires greater precision than that of other crops.

The beauty is short-lived, as the plants are in full bloom for just about three weeks.

While it lasts, Rendel expects the swarm of visitors to continue.

"I even went to the point of putting a sign beside my field that says, "It's canola!", because everybody drives by and asks," Rendel said.

"I would love to see more of it around this area," Buzzard said.

The canola crop originated in Canada.

Transferring the crop to the Kansas and Oklahoma area has taken about 20 years in the making.

The crop is also highly sought after by beekeepers, due to the fact it is one of the earliest blooming crops.

When the bees are able to get an early feed, they are healthier during the summer and honey production sees a boost.
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