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New Pesticide Labels Key Priority in 2002, Among NSA Objectives for 2003

Monday, December 2, 2002
filed under: Research and Development

New Pesticide Labels Key Priority in 2002, Among NSA Objectives for 2003

“So what have you done for me lately?”

That’s always a good and common question for any association member when they visit with board or staff members. For the National Sunflower Association in 2002, there are quite a few things to point to in what has been a very busy year.

It is always important to remember that the National Sunflower Association is a rather unique organization in that growers (who control the board) and industry members work hand in hand to deal with problems and opportunities. Plus, association efforts are funded by sunflower grower checkoff state support, industry contributions and grants. The entities on the board of directors all contribute.

The NSA has spent a lot of time on getting new pesticides cleared through the Environmental Protection Agency. Herbicides have been the priority. Obtaining pesticide labels for smaller acreage crops is a real challenge; thus, the NSA does a lot of “hand holding” in securing pesticide labels. Recent examples of new labels include Bird Shield and Select herbicide.

More is coming in the next several months. The EPA has released its 2003 registration work plan, with several scheduled for final review that may be labeled for use on sunflower. Metolachlor, (product name - Dual Magnum) is a pre-plant/pre-emergent herbicide controlling most grasses, pigweed and black night shade. Deltamethrin, (product name - Decis) is a foliar insecticide controlling most typical sunflower insects. Imazamox, (product name - Raptor or Beyond) offers post-emergent control of most grasses and broadleaf weeds and is part of the Clearfield system. Sulfentrazone (Spartan herbicide) is a pre-plant herbicide that controls most broad leafs and has been available to most growers during the last four seasons via Section 18 labels. Thiamethoxam, (product name - Cruiser) is an insecticide seed treatment that will be labeled for control of wireworm, sunflower beetle and planting seed storage insects.

A look at other areas of focus for the NSA:

Production Research

In order to get the pesticides cleared through the regulatory system, products have to be identified through extensive research for efficacy and environmental safety. The NSA research budget generally is $125,000. Major research areas funded include disease, weed, insect and blackbird control either via pesticides or genetic resistance. An example of is the Sclerotinia misting systems at Carrington N.D. and Brooking S.D. These misting systems duplicate the weather requirements for the development of Sclerotinia head rot. Seed companies enter their hybrids to determine the level of tolerance. Companies and public researchers enter their breeding material for tolerance. Testing of fungicides can also take place. This is an example where NSA provided the idea and the dollars for the necessary equipment. The state universities are providing the staffing.

Another example of leveraging dollars is the recently added molecular geneticist position at the USDA ARS Sunflower Research Unit. It was the NSA that got this position funded. Another example is the Sclerotinia Initiative, much like the Scab Initiative, where allocated federal dollars “beef up” the research on Sclerotinia nationally. Again, the NSA played a key part in establishing the Sclerotinia Initiative.

Nutrition Research

The NSA allocated $187,000 toward sunflower nutrition research in 2002, including a human dietary study 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. The NSA was able to get grants to help underwrite this cost. State grants came from Kansas, Minnesota and North Dakota. It is another example of leveraging NSA dollars.

New federal labeling requirements for trans fats expected sometime in 2003 may boost demand for NuSun oil. NuSun does not need to be hydrogenated to be used as a frying oil, thus there is no production of potentially harmful trans fats (sometimes referred to also as trans fatty acids) when processors use NuSun oil.

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” to showcase sunflower hybrids, chemical applications and other research studies, and winter grower meetings in sunflower production areas.

A daily market price update with market commentary is provided on the NSA’s web site,

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 research, and farm program policy. A top priority for the NSA in 2003 is fixing a glitch in the new farm program. The USDA established separate loan rates for oil-type and confection sunflower, despite congressional language advising UDSA to combine the sunflower loan rate. The NSA asserts that change is needed, or acreage and markets will be distorted.

International Market Promotion

The NSA conducts its international market promotion efforts with USDA Foreign Agriculture Service grants. The investment in confection sunflower promotion in China, Germany, Spain and Mexico is an example. USDA FAS provides the NSA with operating dollars through a long partnership grant. The NSA provides the staffing and infra structure. The goal is to gain a strong identity of US sunflower in these countries and grow the 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.

This past year, the NSA distributed sunflower information to food technologists, dieticians, cereal chemists, and snack food processors at four national trade shows.

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 topics such as research findings, crop conditions and market news.

A highlight in the domestic market this year was the roll-out of SunButter, a peanut butter substitute.

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