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Regardless of the crops being no-tilled, Rick Heintzman will absolutely astound attendees at January’s 10th annual National No-Tillage Conference in St. Louis, Mo. While the Onaka, S.D., no-tiller concentrates on adding value to flaxseed, the same production, processing and marketing techniques can be used with any no-tilled crop.
Quite honestly, we’re almost afraid to run the figures on Heintzman’s value-added flaxseed shown at bottom left in “No-Till-Age.” The value-added returns from a 714-bushel semi-load of flaxseed seems so overwhelming that we wondered whether you’d actually believe them.
One of no-till’s most successful entrepreneurs, Heintzman no-tills corn, soybeans, wheat, sunflowers and raises 2,000 acres of a golden-seeded flax variety called Omega that offers many health benefits.
The flaxseed is direct marketed under his own trademarked label — Dakota Flax Gold — to people on his 100,000-plus name mailing list. In addition, wholesale orders come from about 300 medical clinics, hospitals and health-food stores across the country.
Instead of selling flax for $3, Heintzman earns $168 to $1,120 a bushel with 1-pound and 25-gram packages used on cereal, added to juices, baked in bread and for other nutritional uses. Returns per bushel run even higher for flaxseed nutrition bars and health supplement capsules.
With a gross farm income now measured in the millions, these sales reflect the customers’ willingness to pay big premiums for name-brand or designer-type products, especially those with perceived health benefits. Yet getting to that point took plenty of forward thinking and an investment of…