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Sunflower Briefs

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
filed under: Sunflower Briefs

USDA August Plantings Report Updates June
       On August 12, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency released updated figures on 2019 planted acreage for all crops.  The numbers for sunflower placed this year’s planted area at nearly 1.31 million acres, down 5% from USDA-NASS’s June estimate of 1.38 million.  Of the 79,426 acres of designated prevent plant sunflower in the United States this year, nearly 65,000 were in South Dakota.
       August acreage numbers, by state, were as follows (with the June NASS estimates in parentheses):  California — 39,134 (52,000); Colorado — 53,426 (87,000); Kansas — 36,367 (75,000); Minnesota — 53,775 (51,000); Nebraska — 31,092 (35,000); North Dakota — 517,489 (500,000); South Dakota — 508,983 (540,000); Texas — 26,137 (40,000).
       In addition to the above acreage numbers, the FSA report also listed 39,892 acres of sunflower being planted in “Other” states that are not included under the NASS sunflower survey.
       The August FSA acreage total for oil-type sunflower was slightly more than 1.16 million (including 28,160 in “Other” states).  That compares with the June NASS estimate of 1.225 million for its eight surveyed states.  The total for nonoil sunflower planted acres in August was just under 145,000 (including 11,732 in “Other” states), compared to 155,000 estimated in the June NASS report.

Eric Christianson
Christianson Takes Reins as Red River’s CEO
       Eric Christianson has succeeded Bob Majkrzak as CEO of Red River Commodities, effective August 1.  To ensure a seamless transition, Majkrzak, will continue to assist the RRC management team until his retirement on December 31, 2019.
       Christianson joined Red River Commodities as chief financial officer and senior vice president in 2017.  Prior to joining Red River, Christianson spent six years in various management roles with The Coca-Cola Company, 10 years with Target Corporation, including three years as Group Manager of Marketing Finance, and most recently two years with the Kilbourne Group as CFO.
      A Wisconsin native, Christianson is a graduate of Concordia College with a bachelor’s degree in business and organizational communications.  He earned his master of business administration in corporate finance from the University of St. Thomas.
       Red River Commodities announced in June that longtime leader Majkrzak would retire after 30 years as president and CEO.  Under Majkrzak’s leadership, Red River Commodities has grown from one operating unit to seven major operating units in three states and Canada, earning a solid reputation as a worldwide leader in the sunflower industry.  Red River Commodities is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amsterdam Commodities N.V., a publicly traded entity based in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
      An interview with Bob Majkrzak begins on page 8 of this issue.
Nelson on WS Advisory Group
      Scott Nelson, a National Sunflower Association board member and grower from Lakota, N.D., was appointed earlier this year to a two-year term on the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee. The committee advises the secretary of agriculture on policies, program issues and related research needed to conduct the APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) program. 
USDA Tariff Aid Payments
      Sunflower is included in the plan for 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments announced by USDA in May.  Payment are based on a single county rate for all covered commodities multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to all crops in aggregate in 2019. The per-acre payments are not dependent on the crops that are planted in 2019 to not influence planting decisions.  Each county is assigned an MFP payment rate based on historical production.  USDA did not release information on payment rates when announcing the program.  All growers in a county receive the same rate, regardless of the eligible crop grown. Payments are based on reported planted acres for 2019, not to exceed 2018 plantings.
ADM Combines Grain Trading & Oilseed Units
       Global grains trader Archer Daniels Midland Company has consolidated five business units into four in the company’s second reorganization in just over a year. ADM has combined its grain trading and oilseeds segments into a new business unit called Ag Services & Oilseeds.  The change was effective as of July 1.  The new unit is led by Greg Morris, former president of the ADM oilseeds unit.
Ennen Now Serving as CEO of SunOpta
       Joseph D. Ennen became chief executive officer of SunOpta Inc., this spring.  He succeeded Katrina L. Houde, who had been serving as interim CEO.  Houde continues as a member of the company’s board of directors.  Ennen has more than 30 years of food and beverage experience, holding senior management positions at several companies, most recently as CEO of Columbus Foods.  Prior to that, he was senior vice president of consumer brands at Safeway. Earlier, he was group vice president of innovation and vice president of marketing for core brands at Frito-Lay.  He also has worked as vice president and general manager of the Healthy Choice brand at Conagra Brands and as marketing director for Kellogg U.K.
Nuseed Opening R&D Facility in California
       Nuseed, an Australian-headquartered agriculture company, recently began construction of a research and development center in West Sacramento, Calif.  A subsidiary of Australia-based pesticide and crop company Nufarm, Nuseed will be opening up an innovation center in the Riverside Commerce Center.  The facility will include a molecular lab and a greenhouse for sunflower, sorghum and canola development.  It will employ 20 workers in areas such as research and development, finance, human resources, information technology and commercial management, with plans to expand by 40 to 55 jobs over the next five years.
CHS Closes N.W. Minnesota Sunflower Plant
       A CHS facility near Thief River Falls, Minn., was closed this summer as the company works to move all of its sunflower processing operations to one location in North Dakota. Warehouse and storage facilities remain at the site in Hazel, Minn., as CHS plans to move all processing to Grandin, N.D.  The Hazel plant was slated to close as of July 12.
California Hybrid Seed Production Manual
       California is the leading producer of hybrid sunflower seed used around the United States and the world.  Recently, a team of researchers put together a new sunflower hybrid seed production manual for California.  The manual provides information on production needs, such as irrigation and nutrient management, as well as a color guide to insect pests, diseases and weeds of concern for hybrid sunflower seed production. Click here to download the manual.
       Authors of the manual include UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors Rachel Long, Sarah Light and Konrad Mathesius, retired USDA plant pathologist Thomas Gulya, UC Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist Khaled Bali, and emeritus UC Cooperative Extension soils specialist Roland Meyer.  
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