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A Sunflower Processor’s Sunny Disposition

South Dakota Sunflower Processor Eager to See China through His Own Eyes

This is the first in a series spotlighting four of the eleven companies who will be traveling with Gov. Dennis Daugaard on his third trade mission to China this week.

FOR RELEASE: Monday, May 5, 2014

Danny Dale has heard theories about why the Chinese market is interested in sunflower seeds produced in South Dakota, but now he’s getting the chance to see firsthand if it’s true.

Dale’s company, Advanced Sunflower of Huron, was chosen as one of eleven entities selected to join Gov. Dennis Daugaard on his third trade mission to China. The group leaves this Friday, May 9, and will return to the states a week later. According to Dale, one of the main reasons he’s eager to travel to China is the opportunity to see the country through his own eyes.

 “I’ve heard theories from others who have traveled to China before, but the chance to physically see China and the people and how things operate over there is an invaluable opportunity for our company,” Dale said.

Originally from Minnesota, Dale moved to South Dakota in 2009 to pursue his passion for processing sunflower seeds. Between the more friendly business climate, conservative, hard-working people and lack of state income tax, the decision to move was clear. In Dale’s opinion, South Dakota producers can and consistently do produce the best quality sunflower in the U.S. In March 2011, Dale partnered with Wayne Lindberg of Sunbird Inc., and Advanced Sunflower was born.

Advanced Sunflower currently exports product to China and Dale says he is eager to continue and grow the business in the Chinese market. Besides being a healthy, non-GMO snack item, the sunflower seed is relatively inexpensive. Also, it often replaces other snacks, like nuts—especially, peanuts. Why? Dale says it’s because sunflower seeds cause fewer allergic reactions than peanuts.

But perhaps the sunflower seed’s most unique attribute generating interest from China is the actual consumption of the seeds and the peacefulness of mind it brings to its consumers.

“In the U.S., consumers often eat a handful of seeds at a time and spit out the hull while we eat the kernels. Chinese consumers particularly enjoy eating one seed at a time,” Dale said. “They enjoy cracking open the seed and upon consuming it, they savor it. It gives the consumer a sense of accomplishment when they crack them open one at a time. It’s a cultural thing.”

That’s why when Advanced Sunflower had Chinese purchasers stop by their plant a year ago, Dale knew he had to apply for the Governor’s next trade mission to China.

“We have more than 200 producers in South Dakota who grow four different types of seeds and almost a quarter of those producers will grow the specific type of seed the Chinese market is looking for this year,” said Dale. “They’re ready and wanting to do business with us because we’re now producing the right kind of product.”

Dale says sunflower seeds are becoming as important as any other specialty crop grown in South Dakota. And because year-in and year-out it’s a top cash-crop, that just means more revenue brought into South Dakota and its producers. That’s something, Dale says, we can all benefit from.

For more information on Advanced Sunflower, visit their website at

Media Contact

Members of the media requesting more information should contact Natalie Likness at or (605) 773-3301.