Manitoba sunflower growers have a reason to celebrate on Canada Day.
Scoular, a U.S. company with more than $4 billion in annual sales, has invested in its bird food manufacturing plant in Winkler, Man.
The expansion of the facility means sunflower growers have a reliable buyer for their crop.
“At Scoular, we think of ourselves as the ‘Sunflower People’ for the growers of Manitoba,” said Ben Friesen, Scoular’s product group manager for sunflowers.
“We are committed to providing these growers with a competitive market for their sunflowers.”
The company didn’t share in a news release how much it invested in the Winkler expansion.
In June, Scoular moved its Winnipeg bird food operations to its bird food manufacturing plant in Winkler.
Scoular Canada purchases confection sunflowers for snack foods and black oil sunflowers for use in bird feed.
Sunflower acres were expected to rise this year in Manitoba, thanks to solid demand and stronger prices. Demand was particularly strong for oil sunflowers this spring, partly because of COVID-19. Consumers, who have been forced to eat more at home, have consumed more cookies, crackers and chips that are made with sunflower oil.
In 2019, Manitoba farmers seeded about 65,000 acres.
“We’re hoping for an increase,” Darcelle Graham, the National Sunflower Association of Canada’s executive director, said in late April.
“We’ve been told a 25 percent increase in sunflower acres, which would be nice. But we won’t know until growers get into the field.”
Official acreage data should be available by mid-July, when Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp. releases information about insured acres in the province.