<< All News Saturday, April 1, 2023

Your Sunflower Checkoff Dollars at Work

Back in the early 1980s, the National Sunflower Association (NSA) was created to have one central voice for sunflower. The NSA Board of Directors consists of 13 sunflower producers and 5 industry members. They are the guiding force that sets the direction for the organization. The NSA works together for the betterment of the sunflower industry. Working together allows for good planning and getting the most bang for the buck. Our overarching goal is to make sunflower a profitable crop for all involved in the industry.

Checkoff councils/commissions from North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado and Minnesota now participate in the NSA, with 50% or more of each state group’s annual revenue directed to the NSA. Those funds are enhanced with industry assessments of the oilseed crushing plants, the confection processing plants and the hybrid seed companies. The NSA can expand that income even further with other grants, including a market development grant from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. All in all, every dollar coming into the NSA grows exponentially at least 10-fold.

Keeping in mind the goal of making sunflower a profitable crop for all involved in the industry checkoff, industry and grant dollars are spent in the following areas:

Production Research:  The National Sunflower Association provides grants to public researchers to stimulate new or additional work that may result in lower production costs, increased quality and higher yields. The four key research areas are: production issues, disease, insects and weed control. Resolving Sclerotinia continues to be a high priority.

Crop Protection: This is an ongoing process with the NSA working with crop protection companies and university personnel to determine efficacy of new products to establish possible new labels.  Many of the sunflower herbicide registrations in the last 10 years — including Spartan®, Beyond® and Express® — were partially financed by the NSA. The NSA is currently working with USDA on the bird repellent Anthraquinone.  This product has been tested under cages for two successive years and the results look very promising for repelling blackbirds.

Domestic Promotion: NSA works to improve awareness and educate food processors about the favorable characteristics of sunflower oil for use as food processing oil. We also spend time promoting kernel usage to domestic buyers to promote the functionality and flexibility of using kernel as an ingredient in food products.

Foreign Market Development: The NSA continues to be a cooperator with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service for matching dollars in overseas market development.  The NSA operates in five countries with an USDA allocation of approximately $1.6 million annually.  Canada is the main oil export market targeted with USDA funds.  Germany, Mexico, Spain and Turkey are market targets for confection sunflower. 

Publications & Grower Information:  Information is power and the more you have the better thus The Sunflower magazine, which is free of charge to all sunflower growers, NSA website and newsletters continue to be the mainstay of the communications system.  NSA provides producers with access to the latest news and developments concerning sunflower.

So, what is the NSA?  It is “your” NSA working for the producer and the industry for the betterment of the US sunflower industry. Working together we can achieve our common goal of making sunflower a profitable crop for all involved.


Canola Growers Checkoff Dollars at Work


The Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) is primarily funded through a grower checkoff as well as industry sponsorships and producer memberships.  The NCGA has had many successes through the years, including:


Obtaining a very favorable canola PLC Payment Rate in the Farm Bill, providing financial protection to canola growers who have established canola base acres over many years in their farm operations


Obtaining pesticide registrations on canola


Getting more favorable crop insurance provisions for canola, such as later Final Planting Dates, Specialty Canola insurance, Trend Adjusted Canola Options


Completing research trials on straight harvesting of canola


Completing long term rotation trials of canola


Completing insect and disease surveys to identify outbreaks and manage pests


Funding research to combat canola diseases


Obtaining an FDA Health Claim for canola oil


Promoting canola to health professionals, chefs, food industry personnel and consumers


The NCGA is again allocating the majority of its funding on canola research with heavy emphasis on understanding and combating blackleg and sclerotinia.  Discovering further health benefits of canola oil and answering  producers’ questions regarding successful canola production will continue to be key research areas as well.  Participation rates in the new Trend-Adjusted insurance product for canola are also expected to increase. 


These are just a few of the activities that are funded through grower investment in the canola industry.   Canola oil has increased its market share in the U.S. six-fold in the last five years, (per capita canola oil consumption has reached 13.1 pounds, compared to 5.6 pounds in 2005) which shows that the marketing efforts and the healthy profile of canola oil are working to increase consumption of canola.  Grower checkoff funds also allow the NCGA to attract over $200,000 in additional federal regional research funds directed at the region’s canola industry annually.  Growers agree that their investment in the industry is crucial to ensure canola is competitive in the future and will continue to be a profitable crop in their rotation.


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