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'95 Report Put Birdfood Impact at $423 Million

Monday, March 1, 1999
filed under: Utilization/Trade

Specific numbers on the size of the birdfood sector within the U.S.

sunflower industry can be difficult to come by. That's partly due to

the competitive nature of the business; partly because no public or

quasi-public agency closely tracks the numbers on a regular basis; and

partly because some oil-type seeds can, depending upon market demand and

oil content levels, move back and forth between the birdfood and oilseed

crushing arenas.

Perhaps the most in-depth economic examination of the U.S. birdfood

sector can be found in a report released in 1995 by North Dakota State

University agricultural economists. Their study, which used 1991-93 as

its base period, examined the entire U.S. sunflower industry. It placed

the annual economic impact (direct and secondary) of the overall

industry at $2.7 billion - including $423 million attributed

specifically to the birdfood sector.

According to the NDSU report, approximately 236,450 metric tons of oil

sunflower seed and about 35,300 metric tons of confection sunflower seed

were consumed annually for birdfood in the United States during 1991

through 1993.

The direct economic impact from the primary processing of oil-type

sunflower seed for birdfood was estimated to be about $45.4 million per

year during the three-year study period, with the annual domestic

consumption of sunflower for birdfood resulting in $91.9 million of

direct economic activity. (That $91.9 million encompassed

transportation, packaging, marketing/distribution activities and retail


Together, those two categories amounted to $137.3 million in annual

direct economic impact. Secondary impacts each year, brought the

overall annual impact up to $423 million.

Since the 1991-93 study period, the overall birdfood sector has, of

course, grown substantially Sunflower seed has shared in that growth -

and continues to do so as the new century approaches.

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