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Associated Press, Published January 19 2012

SD surpasses ND as top sunflower-producing state

BISMARCK (AP) — South Dakota farmers for the first time in recorded history can lay claim to the title of nation's top sunflower producers.

That crown has been worn by North Dakota since record-keeping for both states began in 1977. But last year flooding and wet weather wiped out acres, and production fell to 766 million pounds. South Dakota farmers produced 777 million pounds.

South Dakota farmer Tom Young says it's nice to have the notoriety of being No. 1, but not at the expense of farmers in another state. He says what happened in North Dakota is sad, and it hurts the industry as a whole.

National Sunflower Association Executive Director John Sandbakken says acres will recover in North Dakota, and the state will reclaim the No. 1 spot in production.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.