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National Sunflower Association Highlights in 2001

Saturday, December 1, 2001
filed under: Research and Development

National Sunflower Association Highlights in 2001

Following is a summary of programs and activities of the National Sunflower Association over the past year. The NSA seeks to increase profitability to sunflower growers and the sunflower industry by providing information and education, and expanding sunflower markets domestically and overseas. Association efforts are funded by sunflower grower checkoff state support, industry contributions and grants.

Production Research

NSA funds and coordinates use of government funding for sunflower production research, prioritizing projects according to grower and industry needs. In 2000-2001, NSA funded $115,000 of production research in ND, SD, KS, TX and CO.

Major research areas funded: Sclerotinia, weed control, insect problems, blackbird control. A Research Forum is held each January where researchers from across the world share their sunflower research findings.

Nutrition Research

The NSA allocated $246,000 toward sunflower nutrition research in 2001, including:

 A phytochemical analysis of sunflower seeds and nuts, completed in March 2001 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, which concluded that compounds present in the sunflower kernel have been shown to offer a variety of potential health benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer, as well as a role in memory and cognitive functions. The research results were presented at an international health conference and the annual meeting of the American Association of Cereal Chemists.

 An animal dietary study to determine heart healthiness of NuSun sunflower oil, completed and presented at the Annual American Oil Chemists Society meeting.

 A human dietary study now in progress at Penn State, evaluating the healthfulness of NuSun oil compared to olive oil in the average American diet, and their effect on blood cholesterol and other health factors.

Grower Education and Services

The NSA publishes The Sunflower magazine to inform and educate current and prospective growers about various facets of sunflower production and the sunflower industry.

Education and communication also comes in the form of producer meetings in the Dakotas and the High Plains, including “Show Fields” late summer to showcase sunflower hybrids, chemical applications and other research studies, and winter grower meetings in key production areas

Industry Education and Services

Members of the sunflower industry receive a bi-weekly newsletter on all sunflower-related issues. NSA industry efforts this year were focused on a number of issues including international labeling for NuSun, cadmium research, market development of NuSun, and national and international labeling for sunflower products.

Advisory committees direct different program areas.

Public Education

The NSA’s web site,, serves as a key means of informing and educating the public about sunflower. User sessions on the NSA web site average 12,000 per month.

Legislative efforts

The NSA provides insight related to the sunflower industry to state and federal lawmakers on issues such as crop insurance, pesticide product use and availability, funding for key research initiatives such as Sclerotinia, and farm program policy. A key issue this year is the new farm bill, and the NSA has been working to ensure that sunflower, as a minor oilseed crop, is treated fairly in the new legislation.

International Market Promotion

The NSA conducts its international market promotion efforts with USDA Foreign Agriculture Service grants. The investment in sunflower seed promotion in China, Germany, Spain and Mexico this past year was $565,000. The investment in NuSun sunflower oil promotion in Taiwan, Mexico and global information was $522,000.

This past summer, the NSA hosted groups of Spanish and Taiwanese journalists to tour the U.S. sunflower production region and learn more about U.S. sunflower seeds, including the nutritional value of sun seeds. The intent is to encourage print and broadcast stories about U.S. sunflower in these overseas markets.

Domestic Market Promotion

NuSun sunflower oil and seed promotion information is disseminated to consumer and trade media. This includes information to industry food developers and manufacturers through development and distribution of literature and presence at major trade shows, company visits and newsletters.

Programs are directed to consumers conveying information on the healthy aspects and ways to use sunflower oil and seeds.

Weekly reports are disseminated to media on sunflower newsworthy topics such as research findings, crop conditions and market news.

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