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Saturday, March 23, 2024
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Gerald Seiler Is 2024 Gold Award Recipient
Gerald Seiler
Gerald Seiler

Dr. Gerald Seiler has been named the 2024 NSA Gold Award winner. This award, established in 1989, is given to individuals who have contributed extraordinarily to the overall sunflower industry, either through his or her occupation or through the National Sunflower Association.  It is the highest award presented to individuals by NSA.
        Seiler began his career with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in 1974, working on the post-harvest physiology of sugarbeets.  In 1980 he accepted a botanist position working on the wild sunflower species for the USDA at Bushland, Texas. He remained at Bushland until its program closed in 1988.  Seiler transferred to the ARS oilseed unit at Fargo, N.D., where he worked for the next 34 years.
        Seiler spent four decades establishing the world’s largest wild sunflower species collection, serving as the central repository for the sunflower industry.  Utilizing this collection, he and his colleagues developed more than 150 interspecific germplasms with disease resistance to evolving races of downy mildew and rust, other pathogens and traits.
        Seiler coordinated the global program for the FAO Research Networks in Agriculture - Sunflower Working Group on the evaluation of the wild sunflower for 15 years.  He served for 12 years as the U.S. board member for the International Sunflower Association and also chaired the USDA Sunflower Crop Germplasm Committee for 30 years.  Gerald spent 15 years as the organizer of the scientific program for the annual NSA Sunflower Research Forum and participated in the NSA Yield and Management Practices Survey for 30 years.
        Seiler is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America, and a recipient of the prestigious Pustovoit Award for outstanding contribution to theoretical and applied research for the global sunflower industry, presented by the International Sunflower Association.  He also has been honored with the CSSA’s Frank N. Meyer Medal for Plant Genetic Resources for Plant Exploration.
        The NSA Gold Award will be presented to Gerald Seiler during the 2024 NSA Summer Seminar, to take place in Duluth, Minn., on June 25-27.
NSA Leaders Advocate for Sunflower in D.C.
NSA directors in Washington, DC        Several members of the National Sunflower Association’s board of directors recently traveled to Washington, D.C., where they made visits to members of Congress from Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota and North and South Dakota to discuss the upcoming farm Bill and Fiscal Year 2025 appropriations.  In addition, the group met with officials from USDA APHIS/ Wildlife Services to discuss blackbird depredation concerns and the USDA Agricultural Research Service regarding the industry’s research needs.
        NSA leaders shown in the accompanying photo are, left to right: Chuck Todd (Onida, S.D.), Josh Greff (Regent, N.D.), Tom Kirkmeyer (Brighton, Colo.), Cameron Peirce (Hutchinson, Kan.)  and Tom Dowdle (Kennedy, Minn).
Research Forum Presentations Now Online
        PowerPoint presentations of reports delivered at the 2024 Sunflower Research Forum can now be found on the NSA website — — under the “Research” tab.  Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University and the University of Nebraska presented papers and posters summarizing their work.
        For a historical look at sunflower research, this site also includes Forum presentations dating back to 2008.
Chlorpyrifos Use Reinstated for Sunflower
        The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has amended its regulations to reflect the current legal status of chlorpyrifos tolerances.  Recently, a federal appeals court overturned EPA’s 2021 ban on all uses of the pesticide in food crops.  Producers can now use currently registered chlorpyrifos products on all crops, including sunflower, with reinstated tolerances, consistent with directions for use on those product labels. 
        See the article elsewhere in this issue of The Sunflower for more information.
Deadline Approaching for NSA Scholarship
        There is still time to submit applications for the NSA Curtis Stern Memorial Scholarship.  Scholarship funds assist students who study in the field of agriculture, with a special emphasis on sunflower production, promotion or research.  Preference will be given to students who are in their last two years of undergraduate studies or in graduate level studies and have maintained at least a cumulative 3.0 GPA on a 4.0=A scale. 
        Application deadline is April 1, 2024.  A total of $5,000 is available for the scholarship this year. Applications can be submitted online. Visit to learn more.  Also, contact Tina Mittelsteadt at with any questions.
Spring Drying & Storage Reminders
        As outdoor temperatures increase, stored grain requires attention to prevent losses, says Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension agricultural engineer and grain drying expert.  The stored grain temperature increases in the spring not only due to an increase in outdoor temperatures but also due to solar heat gain on the bin.  Solar energy produces more than twice as much heat gain on the south wall of a bin in early spring as it does during the summer. 
        Here are some recommendations from Hellevang:
        •  Run aeration fans periodically to keep grain temperature near or below 30 degrees until the grain is dried if it exceeds recommended storage moisture contents, and below 40 degrees as long as possible during spring and early summer if it is dry.
        •  Cover the fan when it is not operating to prevent warm air from blowing into the bin and heating the stored grain. He also recommends ventilating the top of the bin to remove the solar heat gain that warms the grain. Provide air inlets near the eaves and exhausts near the peak or use a roof exhaust fan.
        •  Bin vents can become blocked with frost and ice when the fan is operated at temperatures near or below freezing, which may lead to damage to the roof. Leave the fill and access door open as a pressure relief valve when operating the fan at temperatures near or below freezing.
        •  Natural air-drying for oil sunflower requires an airflow rate of 0.75 cfm/bu for up to 15% moisture. The drying should start when outdoor temperatures average about 40 degrees.
        Visit ‘Drying & Storing Sunflower’ ( for more tips.
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