Hunts Ordered to Pay Growers — “A federal judge in Denver has ordered the Hunt brothers of Dallas and three companies they control to pay sugarbeet growers $31.2 million for denying them a share of profits made in the commodities market in the 1970s. The order and judgment issued by U.S. District Court Judge Zita L. Weinshienk also sets up a procedure to distribute the money to beet growers in several states and a trust to pay them back.
“The judgment, which includes $11.8 million in actual damages, $13.5 million in punitive damages and $5.9 million in interest, came against the Hunts, the Great Western Sugar Co., and Great Western United Corp. and Western Investment Co. “It stemmed from a January 1982 jury verdict in favor of growers in Colorado and other states who raised beets for the Hunts’ Great Western Sugar Co. in 1974. The class-action lawsuit claimed that the Hunts improperly withheld payments owned growers from profits earned by the Hunts in commodity futures trading.”
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Shannon Heads Co-op — “Gerald Shannon was elected president of the Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative at a recent board meeting.
“Shannon has been general manager of the co-op since its inception in 1973, and the change in job title results from a by-law change approved by the co-op in December.
“In other business, former Minn-Dak president Earl Davison, Tintah, Minn., was elected chairman of the board; James Link, Wahpeton, vice chairman; Lawrence Deal, Doran, Minn., secretary; and Alvin Hansen, Baker, Minn., treasurer.”
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American Crystal Experimenting With Air Bubbles to Protect Beets from Vagaries of Weather — “Two 40-foot high, air-supported polyester tubes have been set up just east of the sugarbeet piles at American Crystal Sugar’s [Moorhead, Minn.] processing plant to see if beets can be protected from wind, rain and changes in temperature by the covering.
“ ‘It’s an experiment to see if such coverings are economically feasible, whether they’ll do the job,’ said Stewart Bass, vice president of Crystal’s agriculture division.
“Bass says the experimental project involves three beet piles of about 7,000 tons each at the Moorhead plant. The first pile has a double-insulated, white tent made from woven polyester. A second pile looks the same from out- side, but has only one layer. A third pile is an open-air check pile, or control to the experiment.
“Computer-controlled electronic thermometers within the structures will help determine how well each tent does its
work. The hope, said Bass, is that the new tents will prevent loss of sugarbeets from the great piles that must stay frozen, sometimes until March and April. ‘The beets are OK until they start thawing. The beets inside will remain frozen, but we get deterioration on the outside beets,’ Bass said, ‘especially when there’s rain.’ ”
Early Delivery Plan Wins Grower Support — “Minidoka County (Idaho) beet growers are still enthused about their early delivery program of 1982.
Transplanted Sugarbeets . . . -- “Nobody had to worry about whether 30 rows of sugarbeets would come up at the University of Idaho’s Agricultural Research and Extension Center this spring. They were already up when they were transplanted into the ground.
Sugar Program Working — Shannon -- “The federal government’s sugar program is working and is in the ‘long-range best interest’ of U.S. consumers, the domestic sugar industry, and large sugar-using companies, a spokesman for a farmer-owned sugar cooperative told the
Lou Towater President New American Growers / By Janice Grauberger — “When Lou Towater talks about the sugarbeet industry, there is a determined set to his jaw and an undeniable twinkle in his eye.
“The longtime resident of Scottsbluff, Neb., who is president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association and SUGRO, has found a special niche in the industry.
Markwart Assume[s] ASGA Executive Vice Pres. Position — “Luther A. Markwart assumed the position of Executive Vice President of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association as of April 1, 1982. Markwart’s responsibilities will be to represent the common interest of sugarbeet growers from 13 states to Congress, the Administration and also internationally. He will also work closely with other farm organizations on a national basis to promote and protect the interests of agriculture.
USDA Geneticist Stresses Importance of Developing Crops Resistant to Certain Herbicides -- “ ‘If scientists could develop crops that are resistant to certain herbicides, more complete weed control, increased yields, and reduced consumer prices for food would result,’ says USDA plant geneticist Garry A. Smith. . . .
Farm Bill Passes — “The House passed the Farm Bill on December 16 and President Reagan signed the bill into law on December 22.
“The bill sets up a four-year support program with support loan rates of 17 cents a pound on raw sugar for the 1982 crop, 17.50 cents a pound for 1983, 17.75 cents a pound for 1984, and 18 cents a pound for 1985. Program terms are designed to result in operation of the system without any cost to the Treasury.