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What is that yellow flower I see growing in farmer’s fields across the Midstate this spring?

It has been hard not to notice the acres of yellow popping up across the Midstate this year.

The plant, with a distinct yellow flower, is rapeseed.

Rapeseed is a member of the mustard family, which includes mustard, cabbage, broccoli, horseradish and radish, according to the Penn State College of Agricultural Science.

The plant is largely grown for the oil produced by the seed, which is similar to canola oil, according to Penn State.

“The dramatic success of the canola brand in North America has caused the word ‘canola’ to become synonymous with edible rapeseed in much the same way the word ‘Xerox’ is understood to be a photocopy,” a report for the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. “Today, nearly all production in North America uses edible rapeseed varieties, and discussions of production typically refer only to canola.”

Andrew Smyre, of Perdue, which has approached local farmers to grow rapeseed, told abc27 News the plan is to harvest the crop and use the oil in commercial plastic products like Saran Wrap and plastic bags.

“The pod will open up and the seed comes out, and it goes through the machine and that’s actually what we crush for the oil,” Smyre told abc27 News.

There are 1,500 acres of rapeseed in Pennsylvania and Perdue is planning to expand that to roughly 5,000 acres, according to the abc27 report.

Each acre can generate 2,000 to 3,500 pounds of crop, according to Penn State.

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