SunGold Opens New Plant in Lubbock, Texas
SunGold Foods, a business unit of Red River Commodities, Inc., of Fargo, N.D., began production at its new sunflower roasting facility in Lubbock, Texas, in November. The facility will produce roasted, salted and seasoned in-shell sunflower seeds for snack foods. The Lubbock plant opened with 40 full-time employees. It has room to more than double capacity as demand for in-shell products continue to increase.
The new state-of-the-art facility is a positive for the U.S. confection sunflower business. “With access to acres of high-quality in-shell grown in the south, and proximity to highly populated snack food markets, it makes sense to offer roasting capabilities in the southern part of the U.S.,” stated Red River Commodities President & CEO Bob Majkrzak. “This new plant diversifies our in-shell roasting operations and provides more options for serving our customers throughout U.S. and international markets.”
Along with Lubbock, SunGold Foods has plant operations in Fargo and Horace, N.D. Red River Commodities has plant operations in Fargo, Lubbock, Colby, Kan., and in The Netherlands.
New Bird Seed Facility in South Dakota
Seattle-based bird seed company Global Harvest is in the process of renovating an old elevator in Roscoe, S.D., that will buy sunflower seeds from area farmers. The storage/production facility, located in the north central part of the state, began receiving deliveries from farmers in October.
During the next 15 months, crews will remodel the existing facility and add equipment to store, clean and package sunflower seeds for wild bird and small animal food. The first phase involves upgrading the elevator and installing hulling and grain-cleaning equipment. That work is expected to be completed by mid-December. Once that phase is complete, the facility will be able to ship clean sunflower seeds by truck and rail to other Global Harvest facilities for packaging. The second phase is building a manufacturing area that will be able to package seeds for retail sale. That facility is expected to be complete by the end of 2013.
2013 Sunflower Research Forum on Jan. 9-10
The 35th annual National Sunflower Association Research Forum will be held at the Ramada Plaza Suites & Convention Center, Fargo, N.D., on January 9 and 10. This meeting brings together public and private researchers, as well as growers and industry representatives for updates on research advances and challenges.
The combination of grower and industry checkoff dollars, the Sclerotinia Research Initiative, universities and a strong commitment from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service have all placed sunflower research as a high priority.
The Forum is open to all who are interested in sunflower production. It is not restricted to researchers only. Certified crop advisors are offered a reduced rate and can obtain education credits.
Research reports at the NSA Forum can be either oral or poster presentations. To schedule a presentation and/or register to attend the meeting, go to the NSA website at www.sunflowernsa.com under the Calendar of Events tab.
NSA 2013 Research Priorities Formulated
The National Sunflower Association Research Committee has formulated 2013 research priorities. Production research is a significant part of the NSA strategy for long-term competitiveness. A strong emphasis, once again, will be placed on such key areas as production issues, weeds, insects and diseases.
The project funding process includes completing an application (which can be found online at www.sunflowernsa.com under the “Research” tab).
Applications are due by December 14, 2012. They are then reviewed and rated by the committee in early January. The NSA Research Committee is made up of public and private researchers, farmers and industry company representatives. The committee’s ratings will be presented to the NSA Board of Directors at its February meeting for final funding decisions.
California GMO Labeling Does Not Pass
A California ballot initiative proposing the labeling of genetically modified ingredients in food products was rejected by the state’s voters by a fairly narrow margin. Proposition 37 would have required that foods sold in California containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled as such. The contentious measure would have required GM labels on food sold in supermarkets, and was seen as a “test case” for the U.S. as a whole creating increased awareness on the issue.
Supporters had argued consumers have the “right to know” if GM products are in their food, but corporate opponents said the labels would lead to price rises. The proposition had potential for a significant impact on non-GMO crops like sunflower if food companies would have had to seek out non-GMO substitutes. Supporters of Proposition 37 have vowed to continue to pursue labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods at the state and also the federal level of government.
Sun Oil Exports Finish Lower in 2011/12 Year
Exports of U.S. sunflower oil finished the 2011/12 marketing year at 19,208 metric tons — a 49% decrease from the previous marketing year. Canada remains the number one destination for exports of U.S. sunflower oil, accounting for 72% of the total.
U.S. sunflower seed crush was down considerably in the past 12 months as wet spring conditions hampered planting in the Northern Plains and drought affected High Plains production during the 2011 crop year. Much improved crop prospects for the 2012 sunflower crop are expected to lead to an increase in crush and export volumes in the 2012/13 market year.
Exports of Confection Sunflower Also Down
Exports of U.S. sunflower kernel for the 2011/12 marketing year were down 50% from the prior year’s level, to 16,765 MT. Major importers include Canada, Spain, United Kingdom and Mexico. In-shell sunflower seed exports were down 23% from last year’s level, to 51,673 MT. The largest importers of in-shell seeds were Spain, Turkey, Romania, Jordan and Mexico.
As with the 2011 oil-type crop, confection sunflower production was also lower, which led to diminished availability. Difficult economic conditions in Spain also contributed to the decline in 2011/12 exports. Increased 2012 confection production will allow exports to rebound during the 2012/13 marketing year.
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