The National Sunflower Association meets in Bismarck to discuss the ups and downs of 2012 and the market outlook of 2013.
Ag Reporter Sarah Gustin has the story.
For the first time in decades our neighbors to the south stole our number one position.
(Tom Young / NSA President) "In South Dakota we were able to be able to claim to be the number one state in 2011, one of the only times. That was fun, but the acres rebounded here in North Dakota and we expect acres to actually increase again going into 2013. Prices might not be as high as they were going into harvest this year, but I think there are going to be some contracts announced here in the next two weeks and that's going to set the tone for the coming year."
Executive Director of the National Sunflower Association John Sandbakken says 2012, was a good year for sunflower--with yields exceeding expectations.
Of the nearly 1.7 million acres in the nation--nearly 900-thousand of those were planted in North Dakota.
Sandbakken says nearly 75% of the oil we grow stays in the states.
(John Sandbakken / NSA Executive Director) "We are seeing a trend right now that is going to healthier oils, or oils that have more shelf stability. Hi oleic sunflower hoi is really a shining star for our industry. We are seeing a lot of demand for that, in bottled oil and overall as a prime oil because everyone wants to have lower saturated fats."
While exports were down in 2012 due to a large number of prevent plant acres in 2011, Sandbakken expects those numbers to rebound, especially as Mexico and Spain become even stronger markets.
(John Sandbakken / NSA Executive Director) "Especially in Mexico we are seeing more roasted and packaged product going into Mexico and originally when we started working there it was just raw product. Now, actually we are adding that value here in the United States and exporting that to Mexico, which is a very positive thing. Obviously the more value you can add to the product, the greater return you can have to the producer."