So many people ask, "how did Simply Sunflower begin?" That has to be one of my favorite questions to answer. I am extremely proud of our excellent product, but that doesn't compare to the pride I feel for my family - the roots which grew this company! We're a family business and family is right where our Simply Sunflower story began.
From a humble beginning, my dad, Alan Koelling or Farmer Al as some people call him, started driving a tractor as soon as his feet could reach the pedals. His dad owned a farm and ranch near Ord, Nebraska that had been passed down from his father. The Koellings had come as immigrants from Germany and settled in Nebraska thanks to the Homestead Act of 1862. The original land and farming business has been in the Koelling family for the past 120 years! The soil is rich in history and heritage and our family has always been filled with pioneers and innovators.
My dad, his brothers, and sister grew up in the same beautiful farmhouse that my Grandma Elinor still lives in today. My dad helped my Grandpa Orel on the farm and ranch sunup to sundown....with taking some breaks to attend Ord High School. After graduation, Farmer Al moved to the big city of Lincoln, Nebraska where he received his Agriculture Education Degree from the University of Nebraska. That's also where he and my mom Jeanette fell in love. They got married, moved back to Ord and began life together on the Koelling farm.
Fast forward several years, my sister Carissa and I were born. We lived the typical farm girl life, filled with 4H projects, bucket calves, and new baby kittens each summer. Living life in Mira Valley was a lot like Little House on the Prairie...only with electricity and ATVs. My favorite part of growing up on the farm was summer afternoons riding on the back of my dad's 4-wheeler. We would get absolutely soaked driving underneath the pivot as it shoots out water onto the cornfield. That was playtime amidst the work. My dad was always working and researching new ways of productive farming.
To be a better steward of the environment, Al began using sunflowers as a renewable energy source on our farm and ranch. He started in 2010 with a small crop of sunflowers growing outside his kitchen window. The sunflowers were extremely healthy for the soil in his crop rotation. Through research, my dad discovered the many health benefits of sunflowers - rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants, high in beneficial fats, and cholesterol & trans-fat free. He decided to also use his crop as a direct source for sunflower cooking oil. Thus, Simply Sunflower All-Natural Oil was born.
Our company now includes a large farm operation, two production plants in Chambers and North Loup, Nebraska, and offers products across America. Today, Simply Sunflower is one of the only farm-to-table sunflower oil producers in the United States. What began as a simple environmental friendly idea continues to grow and expand – enabling customers daily to make a wise choice for their health.
When I was younger, I dreamed of living in town, close to my friends and wished my dad had a normal 8-5 job. Then, we wouldn't have to drop our Sunday afternoon plans to go get the cows in and we'd be able to enjoy fall weekday family dinners instead of reheating food for dad after he'd come in late from harvesting into the night.
Now, I'm thankful. I'm thankful for my upbringing and life on the Koelling Farm.
My dad was born to be a farmer and rancher. His wisdom has led our family through peaks and valleys. His ingenuity amazes me as I watch a farmer in rustler jeans with a handkerchief in his back pocket hand-design a manufacturing plant filled with state-of-the-art mechanical engineering. There is so much more than meets the eye when you look at Farmer Al.
I'm tickled pink to work for my dad and contribute to Simply Sunflower - our entire family is! It's our family business and we're so thankful that this is our story.