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2020 a 'very good year' for sunflowers

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The executive director of the National Sunflower Association said USDA’s annual production report for sunflowers shows 2020 was a "fantastic year" for the crop.

John Sandbakken said growing conditions were nearly perfect for sunflowers last year.

North Dakota tops the nation in sunflower production.

"North Dakota set a brand-new state record high for oil sunflower production, at 1,880 pounds," Sandbakken said. "That beat the old record by 230 pounds. It was just a fantastic year for sunflower oil."

Sandbakken said for 2021, the outlook is very good. He said sunflower acreage will likely grow from 2020, and the demand for the oil continues to rise.

"The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is allowing higher mono-unsaturated fat oils to be labeled as 'heart-healthy,'" Sandbakken said. "A lot of the new products being rolled out in grocery stores are using sunlower oil to take advantage of this."

Sandbakken said the healthy profile of sunflower oil, and the consumer preception of it, is creating more demand.

Sandbakken said sunflowers thrive in drier conditions – and that bodes well for the crop, because of the dry conditions that North Dakota is experiencing.

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