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The Sunflower Marks 35 Year

Wednesday, September 1, 2010
filed under: Marketing/Risk Management

The Sunflower is 35 years old! Volume 1 Number 1 of this magazine rolled off the press in August 1975. Its publisher was the newly formed Sunflower Association of America (SAA), the predecessor organization to the National Sunflower Association (NSA).

The Sunflower itself was preceded by The National Sunflower Grower, a monthly one-color magazine (printed on yellow paper) published by the National Sunflower Growers Association (NSGA). Based at Northwood, N.D., NSGA was a membership-based group formed in 1968 and led by longtime sunflower producer (and later SAA and NSA board member) Marvin Klevberg.

The first issue of The National Sunflower Grower, edited by Page, N.D., area producer Bill Conrad, came out in February 1974. The final issue was July 1975. In it, Marv Klevberg wrote that the sunflower publication transition over to the SAA and The Sunflower was to everyone’s benefit. He noted that the new full-color magazine would open the door for more feature articles and enhanced opportunities for advertisers. The SAA, he wrote, “represents growers, industry, processors, exporters, seedsmen, researchers, etc., and will give it the financial and informational support required to make it a better and bigger magazine.” While The National Sunflower Grower had a circulation of around 3,000, the first issue of The Sunflower numbered 10,000 — with projections up to 15,000. (About 29,500 copies were printed of this August/ September 2010 issue of The Sunflower.)

The SAA was more of an industry-wide organization. Its membership included seed companies, elevators, seed exporters, the growers’ group, confection processors, oilseed crushers and other entities with a direct stake in the burgeoning industry. The SAA’s first president was Ralph Taylor, president of Dahlgren & Company, based at Crookston, Minn.

In his column in The Sunflower’s first issue, Taylor noted that the “idea for the formation of the Sunflower Association of America was first brought about by the advent of the Contarinia Schulzi (Sunflower Midge), which I am sure we all remember as being a severe problem in the sunflower growing area a few years back. This effectively brought together all interest[s] of the sunflower industry in trying to conquer this insect pest. Since that time, there have been periodic meetings and some research sponsorship by the group in order to promote and expand the acreage and market for sunflowers."

The intended purpose of The Sunflower, Taylor added, was to “provide a vehicle for the dessemination (sic) of information, a place for commercial companies to display their wares and new innovations through advertising, and a place for researchers to report their findings and make them available to the sunflower interest.”

Articles in that August 1975 issue of The Sunflower included:

• “Bees & Sunflower” — A summary of the importance of bees in sunflower pollination, provided by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

• “Task Force and Field Day” — A report on sunflower research and industry developments in the Texas Panhandle.

• “Working Conference on Research” — A discussion of a national food and agriculture conference in Kansas City at which sunflower was one of the featured crops.

• “Sunflowers, Margarine, Health” — An overview of sunflower oil’s use in margarines and the related health benefits.

• “Plains Cooperative Oil Mill” — A feature on the Texas cottonseed crusher that was contracting for sunflower production and crushing the seeds at its Lubbock mill.

• “Agricomments” — A synopsis of sunflower seed and oil markets, by Agricom International’s Joe Smith.

• “Estimated Production Cost for Sunflowers” — An NDSU report pegged total direct costs at $44.77 per acre, plus fixed costs of $57.06, for total of $101.83.

• “SAA Committee Reports” — From chairmen of the SAA’s research, grades/standards, publication and finance committees.

• “Paraquat Cleared for Oil Use Sunflowers” — Desiccant receives label for use on oil-type sunflower seeds.

• “New Sunflower Publication Available” — NDSU issues first edition of its popular Extension Bulletin 25, Sunflower Production, Pests and Marketing. (Updated editions have been published in 1978, 1985, 1994 and 2007.)
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