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You Are Here Sunflower Magazine > Sunflower Briefs

Sunflower Magazine

Sunflower Briefs
August 2011

USDA-ARS Sunflower Unit Leader Vick Retires

Dr. Brady Vick retired this past June as the USDA-ARS Sunflower Research Unit research leader after 34 years of service.

Vick came to the Fargo unit in 1977 as a research chemist to work on fatty acid metabolism. His work led to the characterization of new metabolic pathways involved in plant defense mechanisms.

He was named the sunflower group’s research leader in 1989 and was part of the team that developed the mid-oleic NuSun® oil, as well as sunflower lines with reduced saturated fatty acids. As research leader, he established an industry focus group that has been instrumental in providing direction to the Fargo research unit.

Majkrzak Elected Northern Crops Council Chair

Bob Majkrzak, president and CEO of Red River Commodities, Fargo, N.D., was elected chair of the Northern Crops Council (NCC) at the group’s reorganizational meeting in late June. He represents processors and marketers of food and feed products. Majkrzak, who joined the NCC in 2007, served 12 years on the National Sunflower Association Board of Directors representing the confection sunflower industry.

Also, National Sunflower Association board member and grower from Wyndmere, N.D., Arnold Woodbury, fills the permanent seat held by the North Dakota Oilseed Council on the NCC board. At NCC’s Industry Advisory Board meeting also held in late June, John McLean of Cargill, West Fargo, N.D., and an NSA board member, was re-elected to his fifth term as chair.

The NCC is the governing board of the Northern Crops Institute (NCI), Fargo, N.D. The council is composed of six seats that are permanently occupied by the president of North Dakota State University, the North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture, and representatives of the N.D. Wheat Commission, Oilseed Council, Barley Council and Soybean Council. The additional 11 seats are filled by producers and food processors from Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, who gain seats on the council through election by the permanent members.

Clemens Retires from NSA Board After 12 Years

Mike Clemens of Wimbledon N.D. was honored at the National Sunflower Association Summer Seminar for his 12 years of service on the NSA Board of Directors.

Clemens served as president and chairman of the board. He was an advocate of developing revenue coverage option for sunflower that is now part of the crop insurance program. He was a tireless advocate on identifying ways to reduce blackbird damage. Clemens and his wife Pam also hosted dozens of trade groups, media groups and policy groups at their farm. He testified before numerous congressional committees relating to farm policy, crop insurance and animal damage control.

Vig Elected to NSA Board of Directors

Ben Vig of Sharon, N.D., is the newest member of the National Sunflower Association Board of Directors. He was elected this past spring to his first three-year term on the North Dakota Oilseed Council Board representing District II. He served as a member of the N.D. House of Representatives during the 2007 and 2009 legislative sessions for District 23 in east central North Dakota. He currently farms in rural Sharon with his family.

Vig assumed the NSA board seat previously held by Mike Clemens, Wimbledon.

Friskop Awarded 2011 Curt Stern Scholarship

Andrew Friskop, a Ph.D. student in the North Dakota State University Department of Plant Pathology, is the winner of this year’s Curt Stern Memorial Scholarship administered by the National Sunflower Association. His area of concentration is developing management tools for sunflower rust, including: development of a fungicide timing model, analyzing the genetic diversity of the pathogen, and evaluating the core set of Helianthus germplasm for novel resistance genes that could be utilized in the future.

Friskop’s primary advisor is Dr. Sam Markell, NDSU extension plant pathologist, but he also works closely with Dr. Tom Gulya, USDA-ARS sunflower pathologist. The impact of Friskop’s fungicide rust work over the last two seasons has greatly improved management information relating to application timing, number of applications and product differences. He is beginning the genetic components of his Ph.D. this summer, and will be working closely with Dr. Maricelis Acevedo, NDSU rust pathologist, and Dr. Lili Qi, USDA-ARS sunflower molecular geneticist. His graduate work is being supported by the NSA.

In addition to his work on rust, Friskop also is engaged in other aspects of sunflower pathology. He designed and executed three fungicide field trials for downy mildew this summer, and studying other economic pathogens in the labs of Drs. Markell and Gulya, including Verticillium, Phomopsis and Sclerotinia.

2012 International Conference in Argentina

The International Sunflower Association and the Argentine Sunflower Association have announced the schedule for the 18th International Sunflower Conference to be held in Mar del Plata and Balcarce, Argentina, February 27 through March 1, 2012. The program will cover production research from genetics to field agronomy and crop protection. Researchers will represent all of the sunflower growing regions of the world.

Conference registration is now open on the following website:

An important part of this conference will be an exhibition of the international sunflower hybrid trials. This is an opportunity for companies to showcase their hybrids. Companies interested in participating in this trial should contact Amelia Bertero de Romano for information at 54-2362-447036.

SunButter Nets Taste Test Award At 2011 Food Technologist Show

SunButter® ( garnered third place in Mintel’s IFT (International Food Technologists) 2011 taste test under the “Flavor and Ingredient Predictions for 2011” category.

The taste test was hosted by Mintel, a leading market research firm, at the 2011 IFT show in their New Products and Consumer Insights Pavilion, which played host to product tastings and presentations highlighting food, drink and foodservice industry trends. Among the presentations were Portion Size, Functional Foods and 2011 Flavor and Ingredient Predictions – the category in which SunButter placed third out of 24 total products.

“Consumers love the high-appeal sunflower seed taste,” says Dan Hofland, vice president of marketing for Fargo, N.D.-based SunButter. “We receive hundreds of letters and emails from children and their parents. One nine-year-old girl feels so strongly about SunButter that she says it has changed her life.”

Valley Bag and Supply Expands Production With New Facility

Valley Bag and Supply and parent Central Bag Company recently announced the acquisition and opening of their new 250,000+ square foot facility located in Leavenworth, Kan.

The larger, more modern facility will accommodate the company’s new manufacturing equipment, which is now producing BOPP laminated woven bags and laminated paper/woven polypropylene bags here in the U.S. These bags have primarily been made in China and India for the past 15 years as well as several other Asian countries in the last few years.

This facility, along with the warehouse/ distribution center in East Grand Forks, Minn., will expand the companies’ total warehousing capacity for its customers to over 300,000 square feet and assist as a central distribution hub for shipping throughout North America.

Research Forum on Jan. 11-12

The 2012 Sunflower Research Forum, sponsored by the National Sunflower Association, is scheduled for January 11 and 12 at the Ramada Plaza Suites and Convention Center in Fargo, N.D. The NSA’s website,, will carry details as they become available.

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