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Sunflower Briefs

Monday, February 1, 2021
filed under: Sunflower Briefs

U.S. Sunflower Production Up 52% in 2020
        U.S. sunflower production totaled 2.98 billion lbs in 2020, up 52% from 2019, according to the USDA.  The 2020 average yield of 1,790 lbs/ac increased 230 lbs from 2019 — and is a new record high average yield for the US.
        Planted area, at 1.72 million acres, was 27% above the previous year.  Area harvested increased 33% from 2019 to 1.67 million acres. 
        North Dakota, the leading sunflower-producing state during 2020, harvested 1.34 billion lbs, an increase of 79% from 2019. Compared with 2019, planted area in North Dakota increased 37% and yield increased 356 lbs to 1,872 lbs/ac.  Meanwhile, production in South Dakota increased 40% from 2019 to 1.17 billion lbs. Planted acreage in South Dakota, at 622 million acres, increased 17% from the previous year. The average yield in South Dakota increased 216 lbs from 2019 to 1,910 lbs/ac.
        United States production of oil-type sunflower varieties in 2020, at 2.62 billion lbs, increased 48% from 2019. Compared with the previous year, harvested acres were up 28% and the average yield increased by 241 lbs to 1,802 lbs/ac — a new record high average.
        Production of nonoil sunflower varieties in 2020 was estimated by USDA at 365 million lbs, an increase of 92% from 2019.  Area harvested, at 213,200 acres, was up 745 from 2019.  The average nonoil yield increased by 157 lbs from 2019 to 1,712 lbs/ac.
ARC and PLC Programs Enrollment
        Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year.  Enrollment for the 2021 crop year closes March 15, 2021.
        ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level.  PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price.  Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts and dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.
        For additional questions and assistance, contact your local USDA service center.
2021 NSA Research Requests Total $300,000
        The National Sunflower Association received 13 research proposals for 2021, totaling $300,000. The NSA Research Committee met in early January to review the proposals and make recommendations for the NSA Board of Directors. The NSA board will make final decisions on funding during their annual spring meeting in late February. Proposed projects include studies of insects, disease, weeds and production.

N.D. Sunflower Variety Trial Results Available
        The North Dakota Sunflower Trial Results for 2020 and selection guide are now available online.  Producers can find data about hybrid performance throughout the state and information about yield and other information needed for accurate selection of sunflower hybrids for agricultural production in North Dakota.  Find the guide here: North Dakota Sunflower Variety Trial Results for 2020 and Selection Guide — Publications (
Quality Loss Adjustment Program
        The USDA Farm Service Agency announced a new program that provides assistance to producers who suffered eligible crop quality losses due to natural disasters occurring in 2018 and 2019. The Quality Loss Adjustment Program (QLA) offers assistance on quality loss based on a producer’s harvested affected production of an eligible crop, which must have had at least a 5% quality loss reflected through a quality discount, or for forage crops, a nutrient loss, such as total digestible nutrients.  The loss in quality must have occurred from a qualifying disaster in 2018 and 2019. 
        More information on the QLA program is available at:
NSA Communications Director Resigns
Jody Kerzman
Jody Kerzman

Jody Kerzman, National Sunflower Association communications director for the past seven years, has taken a new position.  She started a full-time job at the NBC affiliate in Bismarck, N.D., in January.  “It’s where I got my first job out of college, so my career has come full circle!” Kerzman noted.  “The decision to go back to broadcasting was not an easy one — especially because of the great experience I have had working for the NSA.  I am grateful for all of you who taught me so much over the past seven years.  The NSA is a fantastic organization, and I am proud to have been a part of it.”
        Kerzman will continuing writing articles for The Sunflower, and she invites anyone with article ideas to reach out to her at  She will be doing some ag reporting for television as well.

Nominations Invited for NSA Gold Award
        Every year, the National Sunflower Association presents its Gold Award to an individual who has contributed extraordinarily to the overall sunflower industry, either through his or her occupation or through the National Sunflower Association. This award is considered to be the highest award that the NSA presents to individuals. The award has been given since 1989 to a range of prominent private industry and public research/government figures.
        Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 NSA Gold Award. Visit for the eligibility and criteria requirements. Nominations must be received by February 12, 2021.  The NSA Board of Directors will review all submitted applications and choose a winner.  The Gold Award will be presented during this year’s NSA Summer Seminar, set for June 22-24 in Duluth, Minn.
Continue Monitoring Binned Seeds’ Moisture
        Producers with some of last year’s sunflower crop still stored in bins are reminded to keep an eye on the seeds’ moisture level. The maximum recommended moisture content for stored sunflower is 9.5% through the winter months and 8% if the storage period is longer than about six months.  It’s also important to check the sunflower weekly and make sure you check the seeds, not the bin.  Check by getting into the storage each time and walk, feel, smell and probe the seeds.  Remember, walking around in filled bins can be dangerous, so take extra precautions. Visit for more storage tips.
Virtual Sunflower Research Forum Successful                            
          More than 100 growers, industry representatives and researchers participated in the virtual National Sunflower Association’s 43rd annual research forum January 13 and 14.  Researchers presented papers and posters on their work.  Attendees heard presentations on weeds, insects, disease and new varieties of sunflower.
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