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You Are Here Sunflower Magazine > Sunflower Briefs

Sunflower Magazine

Sunflower Briefs
January 2011

NSA Board of Directors Elects 2010/11 Officers

The National Sunflower Association Board of Directors met in early December in Bismarck, N.D., to set the coming year’s budget and to elect officers.

Tom Young from Onida, S.D., is the newly elected board president, taking over from Don Schommer, who served as president the past two years. Schommer is now board chairman. Newly elected to the board’s executive committee as second vice president is Kevin Capistran of Crookston, Minn. Capistran represents the Minnesota Sunflower Research & Promo tion Council on the NSA board.

Leon Zimbelman of Keenesburg, Colo., will now serve as the board’s first vice president. Secretary/treasurer is John Swanson of Mentor, Minn.

S.D. Oilseed Council Donates to Seed Tech Lab

The South Dakota Oilseed Council, which manages the sunflower checkoff and several other minor oilseeds, donated $250,000 toward the construction of a new Seed Technology Laboratory located on the South Dakota State University campus. This new building brings together under one roof the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association, the SDSU Seed Testing Lab, the Seed Certification Service, the Crop Quality Lab, and molecular biology/genomics and biocontainment laboratories.

Brad Bonhorst, president of the South Dakota Oilseed Council and a member of the National Sunflower Association Board of Directors, said the new building provides SDSU the opportunity to broaden its focus and mission to production agriculture. “As South Dakota producers, we need to support our research institutions through our commodity checkoffs. We know we will get a payback,” said Bonhorst.

Onida farmer Tom Young, a member of the S.D. Oilseed Council and new president of the NSA Board of Directors, was present at the dedication of the Brookings laboratory. He was highly impressed with the efficiencies of the greenhouses that are attached to the new facility. Young said that the focus of sunflower research is molecular genetics for disease and insect resistance. “All of the field work for red seed weevil genetic resistance is being conducted in South Dakota in cooperation with USDA. The more hands we have on this project the quicker we will find solutions, and the Seed Technology Laboratory can play a pivotal role,” Young stated.

N.D. Sunflower Grower Support for Greenhouse

North Dakota sunflower producers have contributed $40,000 to the North Dakota State University greenhouse project. The announcement was made by Art Ridl, a sunflower producer from Dickinson and president of the North Dakota Oilseed Council. The NDSU greenhouse is a $33 million project that includes greenhouse space for nearly two acres and an assortment of laboratories for functions such as misting chambers, spray booths and seed storage.

Ridl pointed out that most of the sunflower research work is done at the USDA-ARS laboratory on the NDSU campus. But the National Sunflower Association has funded a number of major research projects, including rust, Verticillium and insect resistance. These projects are a university-USDA partnership involving several universities in the sunflower production states.

“We are also anticipating a sunflower plant physiologist to be funded by the North Dakota Legislature in 2011. That position will need to have access to this high-tech greenhouse facility. So we are making this investment in the future with North Dakota sunflower checkoff dollars,” Ridl stated.

Sunflower Sustainability Statement Available

The National Sunflower Association has developed a Sunflower Sustainability Statement. The statement was produced in response to requests from NSA processor members and food companies who use sunflower products. The statement shows a dramatic decrease in the use of active ingredients of various crop protection products from the early 1990s compared to the present time. That is largely due to improved crop protection products and the efficient use of them. The movement to no-till and reduced-till systems has greatly reduced soil erosion as well as fuel used for planting and weed control. Water use is also important in sustainability. Sunflower is highly adapted for production where only minimal irrigation water is available.

All food manufacturing companies are attempting to reduce their environmental “footprint,” beginning with the on-farm production of their raw products. Consumer groups are now monitoring individual food manufacturers. Major retailers like Wal-Mart have developed “sustainability” criteria for manufacturers.

To view and/or print the statement, go to the NSA website —

Growers Invited to Partake in Online Surveys

The NSA website ( is now more interactive than ever before. Growers are encouraged to give their feedback on a “hot” topic that comes up each year at harvest time — combine fires. The survey is located under the “Growers” tab. Results are also posted there and updated as they are submitted. Another survey on plant stand is under the ‘Planting’ sub-category under the Grower tab.

The goal is to connect “grower-to-grower” by passing along ideas and recommendations to fellow producers. Website visitors are also invited to submit story ideas for The Sunflower. Click on the “Sunflower Magazine” tab and go to “Story Ideas” to let us know what topics you’d like covered in future issues.

FSA Issuing ACRE Payments, Mainly Sunflower

In early December, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) would begin issuing an estimated $10 million of ACRE payments to minor oilseed and pulse crop producers who had chosen to participate in the program for the 2009 crop year. Of that $10 million, 95% is going to sunflower producers in Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Nationally, 7.7% of farms were enrolled in the 2009 ACRE program. The ACRE enrollment rate in Minnesota was 6.3%; in Nebraska, 19.9%; North Dakota, 10.2%; South Dakota, 18.4%.

The FSA has estimated per-acre payments for sunflower producers for individual states as follows. All Payment Rate: CA - $46.50; CO - $10.29; IL - $59.97; IN - $60.49; KY - $20.18; MN - $69.35; MO - $42.33; NY - $51.96; ND - $35.66; OH - $42.31; SD - $28.15; TN - $10.66; WI - $45.35. Irrigated Payment Rate: KS - $83.88; NE - $61.70; OK - $75.76; TX - $0; Non-Irrigated Payment Rate: KS - $0; NE - $53.59; OK - $54.86; TX - $38.56. Payments will be based on planted and prevent planted acreage and factored by 0.833 as well as the farm’s average yield divided by the state’s average yield.

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