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Producer's Co-op Oil Mill

Oklahoma farmers now have help in planting the seeds for a new market in the state. We look at the future of farming.
Producer's Co-op Oil Mill

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Producer's Co-op Oil Mill

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Show 0848: Producer's Co-op Oil Mill

Air date: November 30, 2008



Rob:  As the nation searches for alternatives for everything from trans fat in our food to foreign oil in our gas tanks, Oklahoma farmers are at the forefront of growing more and more alternative crops.  And thanks to new work underway at a well known landmark in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma farmers now have help in planting the seeds for a new market in the state.  Oklahoma HORIZON’s Keith Smith has more on what some see as the future of farming.

Keith:  For Oklahoma farmer, Alan Mindemann, it runs in the family.  Continuing a family tradition that goes back a hundred years, Alan has shifted gears, turning to alternative crops.

Alan Mindemann:  We’re In the sunflower field harvesting sunflowers.

Keith:  A full-time job in the field.

Mindemann:  There is a lot of things that like to eat them.  You’ve got to keep a pretty close eye on them.

Keith:  The oil seeds then had to be sent out of state to be processed.  That is until now.  The state’s oldest cottonseed oil mill in Oklahoma City can now crush canola and sunflower seeds.  Producers Cooperative Oil Mill CEO, Gary Conkling, says the three million dollar expansion will help fuel future growth.

Gary Conkling:  We feel by expanding our crushing capabilities that we are positioning ourselves to be an even more viable entity.

Keith:  Powerful enough to take in fourteen thousand pounds worth a day.

Conkling:  With the increased crushing capacity at the mill, we’re looking for something else to do.

Keith:  State Senator Ron Justice says it’s a first for the state, already changing the landscape.

Senator Ron Justice:  I think the reason that it’s extremely important to Oklahoma is because it adds another crop for us to use, it adds another alternative for producers to use.

Mindemann:  I’ve always wanted to grow oil seeds, wanted to be in the oil seed market, another avenue for me to diversify.

Keith:  State Representative Dale DeWitt says it’s a win-win that just makes sense.

Rep Dale DeWitt:  We’re going to create a new market, a market that maybe will not be as much pressure or as vulnerable as what maybe wheat and some of them on the commodity market.  And this in itself will create some economic impact for Oklahoma and especially for the agricultural communities.

Conkling:  Since we made the announcement that we were going to set up and press Canola we’ve had calls from all over the world. Not just domestically, but England and the Netherlands and there’s a big demand for export oil there as well.

Keith:  Staying in the state helping the bottom line.

DeWitt:  Before the expansion of the mill we were unable to market it locally, and this gives us a market here locally, and that is attractive to the producers knowing that they have a place that they can go to with their crops.

Mindemann:  Having the Producer’s Oil Mill, the local market has been a tremendous benefit to me, because I can grow the oil seeds profitably now and not have to ship them to another state.

DeWitt:  It’s something that is very necessary, because we need those dollars, those check-off dollars for canola, sunflower, any oil producing seed, so that we can do that research and development and get these to crops to where they’re adaptable to our area.

Mindemann:  This is canola that was planted on 15-inch rows.

Keith:  Going against the grain, good in the long run.

Justice:  It also helps with control of weeds, and so as we use it in a rotation basis, it not only helps the producer but it also develops another industry in our state.

Mindemann:  I need as many crop options as I can get. We’ll plant wheat, and harvest it.  We’ll plant sunflowers and harvest them, come in the next spring and plant corn, and then we’ll come back and plant wheat again.

DeWitt:  By doing a rotational with an alternative crop, we’ll clean that ground up and that in itself saves lots of dollars and helps the economy.

Keith:  The seeds of change have been planted, and delivered.

Mindemann:  Since we’ve got Producers Oil Mill in Oklahoma City, we have a local market for these oil seeds which makes them practical to grow.

Keith:  Continuing a tradition of excellence with alternative crops that can start, and stay, in Oklahoma.