Happy Earth Day!
Celebrating Earth Day isn't new to us! Our owner and CEO is fourth generation farmer Alan Koelling (Farmer Al). He's also my dad! Respecting Mother Nature is something he was born to do. Our farmland has been in the family for over 120 years. Our farm soil is rich in history and heritage, but more importantly it contains the wealth of ancestors striving to be better stewards of the environment. “If we take care of the land, it will take care of us,” Farmer Al says.
My dad has implemented multiple ecologically-friendly and sustainable practices into his Nebraska farming practice and sunflower oil business. Utilizing a crop rotation of corn, soybeans, wheat, and sunflowers offers multiple natural benefits to their farm ground. “Our crop rotation changes the insect cycle so we don’t use insecticides.” “Corn uses nitrogen and soybeans make nitrogen so our crops generate their own fertilizer.” Our crop rotation also helps soften the soil. Sunflowers have a six-foot tap root which naturally breaks up hard pans. This enables us to use a no-till farming technique and increase organic matter in the soil. “We’re able to diversify the land usage so natural microbes in the soil don’t die off.” “It also breaks down the weed cycle, offers protection from wind and water erosion, and provides grazing for cattle.”
We also make our own fuel for his farm machinery. “Most production machinery runs on diesel that emits pollutants from the engine exhaust. For as much time as we spend running those engines, I opted for an eco-friendly option to make my own biodiesel,” my dad shares. Biodiesel is an alternative fuel that we make from used fryer oil collected from local restaurants. “Running our machinery on biodiesel doesn't release carbon dioxide so it is much friendlier to the environment,” Farmer Al shares. “It takes more time than simply driving up to a gas pump, but I think it's great time invested to be a good steward of our environment!”
In addition to a crop rotation and growing his own fuel, we are also a zero-waste business. Through the production process, we utilize the entire sunflower plant so nothing goes to waste. Once the sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds, the remaining sunflower meal bi-product is used as feed for livestock. Simply Sunflower Oil is filtered and packaged in a BPA-free, high quality plastic bottle with a non-drip bericap. “This is safe for the consumer and ideal for recycling after use. We even offer discounts to our bulk customers for recycling totes.” We reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as we can!
Simply Sunflower Oil is now available at 350 locations in four states. Farmer Al is honored to help feed America amidst a pandemic. What began as a simple environmental friendly idea continues to grow and expand – enabling others to make a good choice for their health and the earth! Alan shares, “Farming has been around for thousands of years and there’s exciting things ahead. I’m an innovator and determined to leave this earth better than I found it.”