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Suntava CEO to highlight purple corn at conference

WORTHINGTON -- Bill Petrich, CEO of Suntava, will serve up purple-tinted corn chips and a brief explanation of his southwest Minnesota company during a 2 p.m. "testimonial" Thursday at the Regional Bioscience Conference.

Recognized by the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) as the Ag Innovator of the Year, Suntava produces red dye from purple corn grown primarily in southwest Minnesota -- specifically in the Lamberton and Wabasso areas -- for commercial use in the food and beverage industry. The natural coloring can replace petroleum-derived red dye No. 40.

"It's all about the power of purple corn -- what's in it, what do we make from it," said Petrich of the information he will present Thursday during the first day of the two-day conference.

Suntava was formed in 2007 after "many years of breeding" research in southwest Minnesota and the southern hemisphere.

"We are always looking for growers, but at the end of the day, it's about awareness," Petrich said of his appearance in Worthington.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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