USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer was scheduled to visit Smude’s Natural Sunflower Oil in Pierz Thursday, to award Smude’s a $298,500 Value-Added Producer Grant. The grant will help Smude’s increase production of its bottled natural sunflower oil, grow its customer base and create jobs.
Smude’s farms 150 acres of sunflowers and is the only producer in Minnesota to offer high oleic sunflower oil to consumers. Smude’s products are currently in about 100 retail and restaurant locations and are sold at smudesoil.com and at local farmer’s markets. Smude’s hopes to also use the grant to become the first national distributor of bottled natural sunflower oil in the nation.