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College Speech Leads To New Farm Business
When he was a student at Akron University in Ohio, Wade Mahoney had to come up with a topic in speech class. The instructor suggested he talk about alternative fuels. After researching the topic, Mahoney decided to get into the business. “The price of heating oil was going out of sight back then. So I started collecting old cooking oil from restaurants and a potato chip factory. I filtered it and sold it as heating oil.”
  His project went so well that demand grew from 200 gal. to more than 1,600 gal. a week. “I really couldn’t expand that fast and make it work financially so I looked at other options,” says Mahoney. Soon he and Dave Tegtmeier, one of the owners of the farm where he works, started making food grade sunflower oil.
  “We decided to start small with just 6 acres of sunflowers,” says Mahoney. Today they raise about 30 acres a year on the farm. Each acre produces about 1,600 lbs. of seed that they convert into 50 gal. of oil. Their extractor produces about 12 gal. an hour, which they bottle and market under the name Sunsational Sunflower Oil.
  “We sell most of our product locally at a retail price of $5.99 for a 12.7 ounce bottle,” says Mahoney. “Larger containers are also available. The oil has a light and nutty taste and a high flash point, so it can be used for high temperature cooking.” They’re also working with a few college food service programs and are talking to a distributor about handling the product.
  When he’s not working on expanding his oil business Mahoney spends time on another business venture, Sunny Side Seeds. “Sunflowers are a main ingredient in many types of bird feed that we make, and that’s going real well,” Wade says. So well, in fact, that Wade has to import seeds by truck and rail from a supplier in western Minnesota.
  “I’ve been around this farm for 15 years,” says Mahoney, “and I know there’s no such thing as making a lot of money fast. In agriculture there are always ups and downs.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Wade Mahoney, Sunsational Oil Co., 6371 W. Pleasant Home Rd., West Salem, Ohio 44287 (ph 330 635-1455; Wmahoney84@gmail.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #5