Grain handler Paterson Grain has been tapped to handle contracting and distribution for Canada’s first commercial variety of an oilseed aimed at the biofuel processing market.

Saskatoon-based Agrisoma Biosciences on Tuesday named Winnipeg’s Paterson as its long-term partner for identity-preserved distribution of Resonance, a carinata variety developed for the Prairies’ brown soil zone.

Resonance, the first carinata to be commercially grown in this country, will be distributed through Paterson outlets, which will handle its commercial contracting with growers, the companies said.

“The commercial introduction of Resonance to the marketplace is the final link in the biojet-fuel value chain that connects Canadian growers to airline passengers, with many others performing critical roles in between,” Agrisoma CEO Steven Fabijanski said in a release.

Trials run by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2009 showed Resonance yielding oil content of 44 per cent and 28 per cent protein. Its yields “deliver attractive economics for growers,” the companies said Tuesday.

Agrisoma is on the steering committee for a study announced last year reviewing the possibilities for the feedstock production, processing requirements, potential commercial partners, logistics and infrastructure needed to produce “drop-in” biofuel on the Prairies for use in jet aircraft.

“Drop-in” means the fuel’s specifications must be the same as petroleum-based jet fuel and need no special storage or handling. Carinata — commonly known as Ethiopian mustard — was one of the crops the study partners viewed as showing the “most promise” for that use.

Last summer the ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials), which approves fuel specifications worldwide, announced its approval the use of up to a 50 per cent blend of biofuels in the kerosene-based or kerosene/gasoline-based fuels now used in jet turbines.

“Not only does Resonance represent an excellent new crop opportunity for growers by giving them a viable alternative for their rotation and enhancing their incomes, but also allows growers to participate in the flourishing bio-energy sector,” Keith Bruch, vice-president of operations for Paterson GlobalFoods, said in Agrisoma’s release.

UPDATE: April 17, 2012 – Paterson GlobalFoods congratulates Porter Airlines on its first Biofuel-Powered Revenue Flight. Read the press release here.