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You Are Here Sunflower Magazine > Sunflower Briefs

Sunflower Magazine

Sunflower Briefs
August 2013

McLean Receives NSA Gold Award Honor

John McLean, former National Sunflower Association board member and longtime employee of Cargill, is the recipient of the 2013 NSA Gold Award. The Gold Award is presented to individuals who have contributed extraordinarily to the overall sunflower industry either through their occupation or through the association. This award is considered to be the highest honor that the NSA presents to individuals.

John McLean worked in the grain industry since 1973, with 32 of those years at Cargill. His primary responsibility was commercial seed origination. He considers the development of NuSunģ oil as the highlight of his time spent on the NSA Board of Directors. The foresight of the organizers of NSA to have a board of directors made up of both producers and industry personnel was something McLean credits as the foundation for success of the organization and the crop.

Gerdes Heads Nuseed Global R&D for Sunflower

Jim Gerdes was named Nuseed global research and development director of sunflower breeding and trait development earlier this year. He is based at the Breckenridge, Minn., headquarters of seed production and research company Seeds 2000. In this role, Gerdes is responsible for establishing and leading both the global sunflower research pipeline and providing leadership to the trait advancement process across crops.

Gerdes brings nearly 20 years of plant breeding and R&D experience in oilseeds, trait management and sunflower to Nuseed. He is well known across the industry for his role in the development of many successful oilseed and confection sunflower hybrids, as well as several novel traits and for his ongoing focus and engagement in the sunflower industry.

Gerdes received a Ph.D. in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of Wisconsin in 1992. A south central Minnesota native, he earned his M.S. degree in agronomy in 1988 and his B.S. degree in agriculture in 1985, both from South Dakota State University.

Deraas Succeeds Krogh at CHS Sunflower

Robert Deraas, has been named president of CHS Sunflower, a value-added business of CHS Inc. Deraas, who had been CHS Sunflower operations manager, assumed his new position July 1. He succeeded Jim Krogh, who retired after nearly four decades in the sunflower processing industry.

Kerzman Joins NSA As Communications Director

The National Sunflower Association is pleased to welcome Jody Kerzman as the organizationís new communications director. Kerzman will be writing for The Sunflower magazine, working on NSAís weekly newsletter, developing press releases and helping with the annual NSA Research Forum and Summer Seminar.

A graduate of Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Kerzman previously worked for 14 years at Bismarckís KFYR-TV, where she produced, reported, edited and anchored news assignments. She grew up on a farm near Bison, S.D., where her father, Duane Shea ó a former NSA president ó still grows sunflower.

Story ideas for Jody can be sent to:

Humann 2013 Curt Stern Scholarship Recipient

Ryan Humann is the recipient of this yearís Curt Stern Memorial Scholarship administered by the National Sunflower Association. Humann is on track to complete his masterís degree in plant pathology from North Dakota State University in the spring of 2014. He grew up on his family farm near Hazelton, in south central North Dakota. When not attending classes or conducting research, Humann works with his family, raising sunflower, spring wheat, corn, soybeans and cattle.

Sunflower has been an important part of the Humann farm for as long as Ryan can remember. There he learned the inís and outís of sunflower production and the economic and rotational benefits of the crop on his family farm.

Ryan has interests in working as a researcher in the ag industry, either in the private sector or at the state level. He is also considering the Ph.D program at NDSU after completing his M.S.

BioDiagnostics Adds Bioinformatics Specialist

BioDiagnostics Inc. (BDI), an independent seed testing laboratory serving the needs of the global seed industry, has added a bioinformatics specialist, Ruhi Rai, to provide its clients with a greater level of understanding in the areas of genome selection, association mapping, linkage analysis, QTL mapping and gene annotation.

BDI provides services to members of the NSA-SNP Sunflower Consortium. Single-gene events such as rust resistance have already been precisely mapped. Other more-complex gene sets for resistance to Sclerotinia and Phomopsis will be available soon. Hybrid seed company members of the NSA-SNP Consortium are using marker-assisted breeding and taking advantage of this new technology.

For more details on the NSA-SNP Consortium, contact John Sandbakken at or call 701-328-5102.

McGehee Joins NSA in International Marketing

Lori McGehee is now working with the National Sunflower Association as an international marketing consultant. McGehee has extensive experience in national and international marketing, public relations, business development, strategic communications planning, evaluation and project management. Based in Denver, Colo., she has more than 20 years of experience in international marketing, with most experience in Asia. She worked with the U.S. Potato Board for 12 years and has also worked for the National Honey Board, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the American Sheep Industry Association, among others.

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