<![CDATA[The Sugarbeet Grower Magazine - 30 Years Ago]]>Wed, 06 Jan 2016 08:59:16 -0800EditMySite<![CDATA[50 Years Ago! Excerpts from the Nov or Dec 1985 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower]]>Tue, 01 Dec 2015 18:42:27 GMThttp://www.sugarpub.com/30-years-ago/50-years-ago-excerpts-from-the-nov-or-dec-1985-issue-of-the-sugarbeet-growerEditor’s Note: One of our regular offerings in The Sugarbeet Grower is the “30 Years Ago” page, featuring highlights from the issue that was published 30 years prior to the current issue of this magazine.

As the schedule in 1985 did not include a November or December issue, we opted to reach back even further into our archives this month — back a half century, in fact, to 1965. The short article excerpts on this page come from The Sugarbeet Grower’s Winter 1965 issue.
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Belle Fourche Reacts to Closing — “Belle Fourche, South Dakota, is a town of about 4,400 located on the northern edge of one of the nation’s top attractions: the Black Hills. It is also a town that has lost a beet sugar refinery. By January 1, 1966, the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company will close their doors for the last time and leave the city, taking with them an annual payroll of between half and three quarters of a million dollars and an outlet for local farm products.
“ ‘About all we can say is that we’re closing here with a feeling of strong regret,’ says district manager Richard Beigler. ‘Economic conditions have forced us to close. We weren’t getting enough volume to justify staying open.’
“The U-I Sugar Company cites poor local irrigation as a prime reason for decreased volume. Several years ago they had extended their operations south of the Black Hills with a beet station located in the Hot Springs and Oral area. In 1961 the Oral reservoir went dry and U-I withdrew from the station. It had been the first time the reservoir ever dried up, however, and it refilled again that winter. U-I did not return.
“The sugar company made another attempt to boost volume by extending contracts to central and eastern South Dakota. This, too, failed to prove successful because of low sugar content, freight costs, and disease problems. Once again, U-I was forced to reconsider, unable to increase the volume that had dropped steadily since before the 1940’s. As a result, the processing plant closed in December, just short of being a 40-year-old institution. . . .
“The Utah-Idaho company made a noteable (sic) effort to make their exodus as gentle as possible. Most of the land the company owned was sold back to farmers for as much as $25 an acre below the land value. Eighty percent of the company employees have been relocated within the organization in Utah, Idaho and Washington. Despite all this, however, the loss will be painful.”
Beet Laboratory Set Up at Cornell University — “A new laboratory to measure the quality of sugarbeets through a wide range of chemical analyses and tests has been established at Cornell University.
“Prof. Thomas W. Scott at the N.Y State College of Agriculture said the establishment of the new laboratory marks another milestone on the event of Central New York’s first commercial sugar production this year. Scott . . . said the laboratory is now ready to undertake virtually every aspect of sugarbeet testing in efforts to boost the quality of the product.
“Sugarbeets growing on Cornell’s research trials in 16 counties as well as those from fields operated by the Empire State Sugar Co. (Pepsi-Cola) will be tested and analyzed.
“One of the major tasks for the new laboratory, to be supervised by Thomas Greweling, director of agronomy laboratories, is to determine sugar content and purity.
“The exact amount of sugar that can be extracted from beets in the factory can be determined at the laboratory, said Scott. This will be done with a new assay technique simulating actual beet sugar processing . . .
“More emphasis on quality in terms of the amount of recoverable sugar from beets rather than the volume of over-all yields per acres is being made throughout the United States, he explained. This trend is strongly reflected in the contract terms between growers and the Empire Sugar Co., under which growers will be paid on the basis of sugar produced per farm rather than by average yields or tonnage of beets, he said.”
Construction on Maine Beet Plant Progresses — “Despite earlier setbacks, construction is under way on a $14.7 million sugarbeet refinery in potato-growing Aroostook County.
“The refinery is being built by a nonprofit corporation for lease to Maine Sugar Industries, Inc., a company established to operate the plant. Vahlsing, Inc., a Ribbinsville, N.J., potato processing and food company, owns 76,100 shares of Maine Sugar Industries’ 166,000 shares outstanding, and a company owned by the Vahlsing family owns another 6,000 shares. American Maize Products Co., New York-based producer of syrups and other corn products, owns 31,000 shares. The rest of the shares are held by small investors.
“The refinery, adjacent to a Vahlsing potato-processing plant here, is slated to grind its first beet crop in the fall of 1966. . . . An earlier plan to build a $17.5 million beet-processing plant in Caribou, Maine, collapsed when Great Western Sugar Co., Denver, which was to operate the plant, withdrew from the project.”
Farms Producing Sugar Crops Show Decline — “The number of farms in the United States, including Puerto Rico, producing sugar crops has declined about 36 per cent since 1950.
“The Agriculture Department has reported that in 1950, the number of farms growing sugar cane and sugar beets totaled about 58,190. This number had declined to about 37,126 in 1964. Officials said figures for this year undoubtedly will show a further loss.
“But the total acreage growing cane and beets increased from 1,710,000 in 1950 to 2,350,000 in 1964.” 

Increased Use of Sugar in Feed Noted — “A plan to increase significantly the amount of sugar in feeds for cattle, hogs and poultry has been introduced to the sugar trade.
“Drawing on research by one of its subsidiaries, W.R. Grace & Co. asserted that, with prices at current low levels, sugar may be incorporated in feeds as an energy source priced competitively with corn. At present, sweeteners are used in feeds mainly to increase palatability.”
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<![CDATA[30 Year Ago Excerpts from the April/May 1985 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower]]>Mon, 27 Apr 2015 20:16:15 GMThttp://www.sugarpub.com/30-years-ago/30-year-ago-excerpts-from-the-aprilmay-1985-issue-of-the-sugarbeet-growerPicture
Industry Leaders Testify Before Senate, House Ag Committees — “Calling the nation’s sugar program effective at promoting price stability while operating at no cost to taxpayers, U.S. sugar producers urged Congress to renew the program when it and other farm programs expire at the end of the year. . . . Excerpts from the testimony delivered to Congress by representatives of the domestic sugar industry highlight some of the issues over which there has been controversy . . . .

“Raw Sugar Prices Lower, More Stable: ‘The price of sugar has actually averaged less during the three years the program has been in operation than it averaged for the two years just prior to its enactment. The program also has resulted in stable sugar prices. . . .’ / Gerald Shannon, President, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative

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“Retail Prices of Sugar Products Increase Despite Program: ‘Despite a 20 percent reduction in raw sugar prices since 1980 and despite the stability in sugar prices that has prevailed the last three years, the consumer prices for sugar-containing products in every category have continued to increase.’ / John Bushnell, President, Holly Sugar Corporation

“Sugar a ‘Good Buy’ in U.S.: ‘Food is a better bargain in the U.S. than any other country in the world, even with some food manufacturers, processors and handlers making tremendous profits. The American sugar farmer’s contribution to cheap food is documented. In the U.S., a worker has to work less minutes to buy a pound of sugar than in other country in the world where records are kept. Less than 1-1/2 minutes of work is required to buy a pound of sugar in the U.S. Contrast this with Common Market countries where the average is almost five minutes; and in some Central and South American countries where sugar is produced it is as high as 20 to 30 minutes.’ / Dalton Yancey, Executive Vice President, Florida Sugar Cane League ”

Tate & Lyle Purchases Six Plants from Great Western Sugar Company — “In 1965, barely 20 years ago, the Great Western Sugar Company was considered by many the crown jewel of the U.S. beet sugar industry. Today this company is no more.

“From the time the company was taken over by Colorado Mill and Elevator Company until the company, a part of Hunt International Resources, filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code, what has happened would fill several volumes.

“It now appears that Tate & Lyle, Inc., and its Toronto, Canada, affiliate, Redpath Industries, Ltd., have purchased six of the beet sugar processing facilities. . . . Plants purchased by this new company, Western Sugar Co., include Billings, Montana, Lovell, Wyoming, and Nebraska factories at Scottsbluff, Gering, Mitchell and Bayard.

“Ronald Booth, a Redpath vice president, said the purchase price of around $42 million included $21.5 [million] for the mills and about $20 million for some of Great Western’s sugar, beet pulp, packaging and molasses inventories. . . .

“The five Colorado plants — Greeley, Loveland, Fort Morgan, Sterling and Ovid — plus the Kemp plant at Goodland, Kansas, will reportedly be part of a cooperative put together by the growers of the states of Colorado and Kansas. Efforts to secure sufficient acreage were still underway when this was written.

“The other beet plant owned by the Hunt interests in Ohio has reportedly been acquired by Michigan Sugar Company, a subsidiary of Savannah Foods.” 

Growers Are Urged to Watch Cost Cutting; Don’t Get Caught Short — “Here are several points many top beet growers watch closely to keep yields up and production cost per ton down:

“• Rotate each field away from beets every year, if possible. Alternating with other crops, including legumes, can reduce your fertilizer costs and reduce the chances of pest buildup in the soil.

“• Keep all fertilizer inputs at levels specified by soil tests. Over-fertilization can hurt your tonnage and sugar content almost as badly as too little fertilizer. Avoid excess nitrate levels. Some experts suggest you avoid use of manure as a nitrogen source for sugarbeets. Manure releases nutrients slowly. This slow release can prolong the beets’ vegetative stage and delay sugar production.

“• Avoid soil compaction. It’s a leading yield killer in beets and other crops. Grow your beets on soils that will let roots develop and grow freely. Subsoiling and chiseling pay off substantially by aerating soils and breaking them up. This practice allows better root development and nutrient transfer. If possible, reduce the number of trips you make with tillage and spray equipment. . . .

“• Put pest control on a schedule. ‘Many beet growers still wait too long to treat for some insect pests,’ says Dr. Mok Yun, senior entomologist at Great Western Ag Research Center, Longmont, Colorado. ‘If you wait until the insects have caused very much plant damage, you’re losing a lot of money you don’t have to lose.’

“• Eliminate costly, time-killing jobs. This practice may relate to several of the above points. For example, some growers may make an extra side-dress nitrogen ‘just to give the tonnage a little kicker.’ But if beets already have enough N, that final trip is wasting time and money and probably compacting soil and/or pruning roots.”

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<![CDATA[30 Year Ago Excerpts from the March 1985 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower]]>Wed, 18 Mar 2015 19:16:13 GMThttp://www.sugarpub.com/30-years-ago/30-year-ago-excerpts-from-the-march-1985-issue-of-the-sugarbeet-grower1985 March Sugarbeet Grower Magazine Cover
Effective Control of Weeds Essential to Control Beet Production Costs — “Because weeds like kochia and pigweed are prolific seed-producing factories, effective weed control was never more important, particularly when you put a pencil to the rising costs of hand labor.

“ ‘We know that good sequential herbicide treatments cost about $35 to $40 an acre to apply,’ explains Ed Schweizer, USDA weed control specialist, Colorado State University, ‘whereas hoeing, if you have a heavy weed infestation, may cost $60 to $100 an acre.’

“His research shows that it takes only 2 to 6 weeds per 100 feet of beet row to reduce yields. ‘We also know where a grower uses sequential herbicide treatments, his rows could have more than 6 weeds per 100 feet without suffering serious yield loss because weed growth is suppressed and less competitive,’ he points out. . . .

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“ ‘Good weed control means integrated weed management — a program utilizing both cultural methods and herbicides,’ he continues. ‘This means controlling weeds with cultivation, employing sequential sprays.’ His other suggestions are:

“Make the most economical and efficient use of chemical treatments. Timeliness is a key factor in achieving control. Monitor weed size in fields. ‘We know postemerge herbicides work the best to treat weeds that are small’. . . .

“To avoid herbicide injury to plants, don’t apply chemicals when beets are stressed or if there’s a rapid change from cool to hot weather. . . .

“ ‘If a farmer cultivates too close, hand blocks his beets and then was to apply a herbicide too soon afterward, [Schweizer] warns, ‘you might see injury. Insects and disease also contribute to plant stress situations.’

“For preplant treatments, Schweizer recommends either Nortron or Ro-Neet. Postemerge choices include Dowpon, Betanex, Betamix and Herbicide 273. ‘With late season weed problems, you should look at Eptam and Treflan and apply them to layby or after thinning.’ ”

Michigan Sugar Produces Record — “Michigan Sugar Company produced a record 370 million pounds of refined sugar during the 1984-85 processing season which ended February 11.

“ ‘This year’s campaign (processing season) was one of the best ever. It exceeded our expectations,’ said Ernest Flegenheimer, president of Michigan Sugar Company. ‘Three of our four processing plants set individual records for most sugar produced,’ he added.

“During the entire campaign, the four facilities processed more than 1,437,000 tons of sugarbeets, surpassing last year’s record of 1,356,000 tons. . . .

“Flegenheimer attributes the outstanding production records to ‘efficient plant operation, high sugar content of the beets and above-average yield in tons per acre of sugarbeets.’ The average per acre yield was 20 tons, up from 19.4 tons the year before.”

USDA’s Robert Barry Talks About Background of Sugar Legislation — “Preparing a sugar policy that meets everyone’s taste is an elusive and probably impossible exercise in any year, given the backdrop of competing interests. This year, however, the theme of farm policy reform poses a challenge to the traditional allocation of benefits as policymakers take a hard look at farm price supports and individual commodity programs.

“Among the parties with a stake in the outcome are beet and cane sugar producers and processors, corn sweetener producers, sugar refiners, consumers, taxpayers, and foreign suppliers of sugar to our shores. . . .

“ ‘The growing and industrial processing of sugarbeets are closely tied to each other. The same goes for sugarcane. No farmer would grow sugarbeets or sugarcane for commercial purposes without a contract for processing,’ says economist Robert Barry, a sweeteners analyst with USDA’s Economic Research Service. ‘Sugarbeets and sugarcane are just too bulky and too perishable to be traded in the rate state. Thus, growers share in the receipts of sugarcane and sugarbeet processors.’

“Within the sweeteners industry, two once-rival interests have recently found common ground. ‘For 40 years, various parts of the industry had a cooperative working relationship. But strong divisions surfaced with the emergence of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and the collapse of the U.S. Sugar Act in 1974,’ says Barry.

“ ‘Ironically, in a bold reversal, sugar growers and processors have allied with their erstwhile rival, corn sweeteners, in a united effort to keep sugar price supports. The sugar producers seem to have reconciled themselves to the loss of about a third of their market to corn sweeteners, the maximum technical limit of substitution.’ Sugar producers are apparently hoping that unity with corn sweetener producers can help protect the rest of domestic sugar production from those who would reduce or remove price supports.

“In sugar’s favor, government costs to maintain the industry have been negligible in recent years, even though the current support program provides a premium U.S. price many times higher than the depressed world ‘free’ market price. In fact, duties under the support program have yielded money to the U.S. Treasury. Moreover, consumers have stable supplies of sugar that are lower priced than in some past years.”

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<![CDATA[Excerpts from the February 1985 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower]]>Fri, 13 Mar 2015 21:29:11 GMThttp://www.sugarpub.com/30-years-ago/excerpts-from-the-february-1985-issue-of-the-sugarbeet-growerPicture
Congressman Jerry Huckaby Headlines Program “Headlining the speaking program at the International Sugarbeet Growers Institute in Crookston [Minn.] on Thursday, March 21, will be Congressman Jerry Huckaby (D-LA), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Cotton, Rice and Sugar of the Committee on Agriculture.” (See Huckaby photo below.)

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University of Idaho Monitors Curly Top Resistance Varieties — “Resistance to a nearly forgotten sugarbeet disease that has flared in Idaho in two of the past 10 years is being monitored at the University of Idaho’s Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Kimberly, Idaho.

“Glenn Mahrt, a UI research entomologist, reported at the UI Sugarbeet Schools in Caldwell and Burley that 1,629 commercial varieties or breeding lines were tested for curly top resistance this season.

“Curly top disease, which can wipe out a beet crop, is carried by beet leafhoppers. These insects flare sporadically, depending on weather conditions. Mahrt said no available chemicals are effective once infestations hit moderate or severe levels.

“Plant resistance has been the most common method of control since the late 1930s, but Mahrt said varieties introduced since 1973 are showing less resistance — a change that resulted in two outbreaks in 1977 and 1979 in southern Idaho. 

“John Gallian, UI sugarbeet specialist at Twin Falls, said only varieties with maximum curly top resistance had been grown in southern Idaho since 1973, when the sugar companies were told they could no longer mandate the selection of varieties. Since that time, other less resistant varieties have been introduced into Idaho, with a subsequent increase in the loss due to curly top.”

Hawaiian Sugar Industry Barely Breaks Even -- “The Hawaiian sugarcane industry has lost considerable political clout since plantation owners, backed by U.S. gunships, helped overthrow Queen Liliuokalani in an 1893 bloodless coup, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal written by Staff Report Mike Tharp.

“Now, declining U.S. consumption, loopholes in U.S. price-support programs and other problems are eroding the industry’s economic clout, too. Sugar planters generally about broke even in 1984, and the 1985 outlook is bleak, growers say.

“ ‘This will be a loss year for a number of plantations,’ says Francis Morgan, president of Hamakua Sugar Co. and third-generation planter. 

“A shakeout is likely, industry executives say. Puna Sugar Co. already has closed its only plantation, and ‘within the next several years, I feel there will be additional closings,’ says Marvin Tilker, executive v ice president of C. Brewer & Co., a unit of IU International Corp.

“The prospect bodes ill for Hawaii, where sugar is central to the economy and history of the region. Sugar is big business on the four islands where it is grown on 185,000 acres, providing 10% of the state’s general-fund tax revenue, 7,800 jobs and even 10% of Hawaii’s hydroelectric power, which is generated by burning the cane’s fibrous residue.”

Cycles of Spikes and Slumps / USDA — “Sugar tends to follow a cycle characterized by 5- to 10-year periods of low world market prices interrupted by 1 or 2 years of price explosions. Since 1950, price ‘spikes’ have occurred five times, the latest in 1980/81.

“The sources of price volatility include: the inability of producers to adjust rapidly to changing economic conditions; price supports and trade policies that insulate producers from market fluctuations; and the decisions of individual governments to restrict exports in poor crop years and dump surpluses on world markets when their output exceeds their domestic demand.

“In addition, few nations are willing to reduce their production of this prized commodity, while many are eager to take advantage of any price jumps. Once new processing facilities are in place, there’s a strong incentive to keep them busy and a strong reluctance to close them down because of the large initial investment and start-up costs. So each time sugar prices go up, sugar production rises, prices soon decline, and consumption again begins a slow, steady catch-up path.

“For now, sugar is well entrenched in the surplus phase. World stocks have climbed from 25 percent of global consumption in 1980 to more than 40 percent. The European Community, a new sugar importer before 1977, is now a net exporter, subsidizing both production and exports. Meanwhile, world consumption is rather stagnant.”

U.S. Restricts Canada Blends — “The United States announced new restrictions on blended sugar imports, mostly from Canada, to ease pressure on domestic sugar prices. The Department of Agriculture and the U.S. International Trade Commission said last year blended sugar imports did interfere with the U.S. sugar price support program, and restrictions were placed on imports of certain sugar blends and products containing sugar. 

“[Added] declines in U.S. sugar prices since then have led to new calls for further restrictions, sources said.”

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<![CDATA[30 Years Ago Excerpts from the January 1985 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower]]>Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:53:05 GMThttp://www.sugarpub.com/30-years-ago/30-years-ago-excerpts-from-the-january-1985-issue-of-the-sugarbeet-growerPicture
Emergency Funds for Rhizomania -- “The Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has allocated $75,000 of emergency funds for basic research into the fungus-virus disease rhizomania in California.

“Rhizomania was first noted in California in 1983, and the incidences of rhizomania showed increases in some areas of the state in 1984. Industry sources estimate that in 1983, 2,600 acres were infected, with the disease spreading to 6,200 acres in 1984.

“The Europeans have had the disease since the mid 1950s; however, they have been unable to develop a control. USDA Salinas Station researchers indicate that, in time, it appears that tolerance or resistance may be bred into commercial varieties. This is a number of years away, and a portion of the USDA funding will be used to develop methods to assay soils in commercial labs to determine if the disease is in fields to be planted.

“The greater part of the funding will be used to ‘study the pathogenesis of the disease inducing entities.’ This will lead to a better understanding of how the disease is transmitted and moves through the plant, causing the stunting and bearding of the root system.”

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All Great Western Sugar Company Properties Are Up for Bidding — 
“Hunt International Resources Corp. of Dallas placed its Great Western Sugar Co. subsidiary, including all 12 of its beet sugar factories, up for bidding. The sale of all the Dallas company’s sugar properties was announced in an advertisement in the December 26 Wall Street Journal.

“Prospective buyers may bid on all the stock or assets of HIRCO’s sugar operations or only on Great Western’s beet sugar refineries in Loveland, Greeley, Fort Morgan, Sterling and Ovid in Colorado; Scottsbluff, Gering, Mitchell and Bayard in Nebraska; Goodland in Kansas; Billings in Montana; and Lovell in Wyoming. Bids also will be accepted on individual properties. . . .

“One potential buyer for the company may be Tate & Lyle PLC, a British concern with sugar interests. The company confirmed last week that it has inspected some Hunt facilities, and one grower said the company seemed ‘very interested’ in the processing plants during discussions with farmers. Industry sources also said that some growers might attempt to form a group to buy some of the plants.”

$3 Million Advertising, Public Relations Program Underway — 
“The sugar industry has mounted a $3 million advertising and public relations campaign to tell consumers ‘the sweet truth’ about sugar, according to Sugar Association President Jack O’Connell.

“ ‘The simple truth is that sugar — sucrose from sugarcane or sugarbeets — is the finest sweetener known to man,’ Jack O’Connell said. ‘Our goal is to establish sugar as the premium sweetener with the consuming public on the basis of quality, versatility in terms of food manufacture and assured safety. We want the consumer to look for products containing sucrose.’

“The industry’s ad campaign, which included nationwide network radio spots and two-page spreads in major publications, stressed sugar’s safety and its surprisingly low calorie content, O’Connell said. ‘Real sugar has only 16 calories a teaspoon. And for centuries, it has set the standard of quality the world over,’ proclaim the ads, which were run late last year in Reader’s Digest, People and TV Guide.”

Idaho Soils Specialist Defends Beet Purity; Cites Factors Influencing Better Crops — 
“A University of Idaho soils specialist has described to sugarbeet growers how they can control some of the factors influencing beet purity.

“Sugarbeet quality is based on both sucrose content and purity — the ratio of sucrose to the total soluble solids in the sugarbeet extract.

“Steven Petrie, of the UI College of Agriculture, told participants in the 1984 UI Sugarbeet School that the easiest factor for them to control is the genetic potential of the crop. Growers should check the results of UI variety trials yearly to see which varieties are best adapted and most likely to have the greatest levels of purity.

“Petrie noted that, while the yield potential of a crop is determined by genetics, the environment in which it is grown governs how closely the actual yield will approach the potential yield. Critical environmental factors that are under the grower’s control are soil fertility, plant spacing and soil moisture, while air temperatures are not.”

Nicaragua Building Huge Sugar Refinery; Betting on ‘Up’ Market — 
“Central America’s largest sugar refinery is under construction in Nicaragua, 20 miles east of the national capital at Managua. The $350 million project is a bet by the Sandinistas that the world sugar market will rebound from its current low. Sugar on the world market now costs four cents a pound, while the cost of producing it in Nicaragua is 15 cents a pound.

“[The project] includes a dam on the Malacatoya River to be used as a source of irrigation and hydro-electric power to help reduce Nicaragua’s dependence on petroleum imports. The refinery will produce its own power — through the burning of sugarcane bagasse — and also will contribute to the energy supply for nearby towns.”

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<![CDATA[30 Years Ago Excerpts from the April/May 1984 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower]]>Fri, 25 Apr 2014 13:12:14 GMThttp://www.sugarpub.com/30-years-ago/30-years-ago-excerpts-from-the-april-1984-issue-of-the-sugarbeet-growerSugarbeet Grower Magazine 1984
50 Years on Front Lines of Agriculture Give Horace Godfrey Right to Dean’s Title / By James Hughes – “Fifty years on the front lines of agriculture give Horace D. Godfrey an edge on Capitol Hill in Washington, where he is known as the dean of sugar lobbyists.

“Horace has been involved in farm programs almost from their inception. He was barely 19, a farm boy from a large North Carolina family, when he went to work in the Raleigh office of USDA in 1934. By the time he left the Department 34 years later, he had worked his way up to national administrator of ASCS and executive vice president of the Commodity Credit Corporation.

“Since then, he has carried the banner of the Florida and Texas sugarcane growers in Washington. He is a principal architect of the current sugar program, and probably its leading advocate. It could not have a better friend. 

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“Horace scores high on two things that count most in Washington: who you know and what you know. A half century of experience has made him well known to practically everyone connected with agriculture. It gives him almost instant access to key farm leaders in Congress, including North Dakota Senator Mark Andrews, Florida Senator Paula
Hawkins, and Mississippi Congressman Jamie Whitten, to name just three. 

“Senator Andrews, a Red River Valley sugarbeet grower, calls him ‘Mr. Secretary,’ as in Secretary of Agriculture. Senator Hawkins, who serves with Andrews on the Agriculture Committee, calls him ‘the Godfather of farm lobbyists.’ ”

U.S. Sugar Market Divided 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 – By Robert Barry and Luigi Angelo / USDA Economic Research Service – “The United States is among the world’s largest sugar consumers. In calendar 1983, about two-thirds of the nearly 9 million tons of sugar, raw value, consumed in the United States came from domestic production. Nearly a third represented beet sugar and just over a third was cane sugar. The remainder was imported primarily as raw sugar with a small quantity of refined sugar.

“However, sugar consumption has declined significantly since the mid-1970s when deliveries of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) began to displace sucrose in increasingly larger quantities. . . .

“Since 1970, and particularly after 1975, major structural changes have reduced the sugar industry’s processing capacity. The number of sugarbeet and sugarcane processing facilities in the United States has dropped substantially since 1976, largely because of reduced producer and processor net returns. Despite the reduction in processing facilities, sugarcane processing capacity has remained relatively stable while sugarbeet processing has declined significantly. . . .

“The 58 sugarbeet factories operating in 1970 had a total daily slicing capacity of 193,000 tons. The 41 factories operating in 1983 had a combined daily slicing capacity of 166,000 tons, 14 percent less than the 1970 capacity, and 23 percent less than the peak 215,000-ton capacity of 1976. The change in the average daily slicing
capacity from 3,385 tons in 1970 to 4,037 tons in 1983 indicates that closures have been largely confined to the smaller facilities. The 21 factories closed since 1970 had a total daily slicing capacity of 63,850 tons.”

Editor’s Note: By way of comparison, as of 2013 there were 22 active sugarbeet factories in the United States. Their combined daily slice capacity totaled 159,670 tons, for an average of 7,258 tons. The largest factory was that of Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative at a daily slice capacity of 17,500 tons; the smallest being the Lovell, Wyo., factory of Western Sugar Cooperative with a daily slice capacity of 3,000 tons.

NDSU Research to Extend Beet Season Underway – “Research on extending the sugarbeet growing season is being conducted by researchers at North Dakota State University. ‘Research on transplanting sugarbeets and other planting methods that decrease germination time will be conducted,’ Earl Scholz, horticulturist at NDSU said. ‘Technology out of Finland, China, England, Japan, Idaho and Nebraska is being pulled together in Fargo.’

“Successful research, especially in transplanting sugarbeets, in the above locations has triggered interest in the Red River Valley because of the increased quantity and quality of sugarbeet yields obtained, according to Allan Cattanach, extension sugarbeet specialist at NDSU.

“Plants grown in the greenhouse for five to six weeks prior to prior to transplanting will extend the growing season, be more resistant to seedling disease and frost, and more tolerant to pesticides, increasing the plant growth rate. Transplants can also utilize nitrogen more effectively, producing a higher quality beet, according to Scholz and Cattanach.

“Increased quantity and quality of beets would increase income to farmers, but to be feasible must also cover additional costs of greenhouse facilities and machinery for transplanting. Scholz estimates a need for 8,750 square feet of greenhouse space to raise transplants for 100 acres of beets, which is 3.0 million plants.”
<![CDATA[30 Years Ago Excerpts from the March 1984 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower ]]>Sat, 01 Mar 2014 20:30:42 GMThttp://www.sugarpub.com/30-years-ago/30-years-ago-excerpts-from-the-march-1984-issue-of-the-sugarbeet-growerSugarbeet Growers Magazine
The Difference Is in Payment — “Shooting for average sugarbeet yields that are high in recoverable sugar or for over-fertilized high tonnage yields may make a difference of $136 per acre. And figuring over 300,000 acres of sugarbeets in the Red River Valley, that adds up to something like $40 million growers are paying for letting nitrate problems get ahead of them.

“Not only is less sugar produced from beets lifted from high nitrate fields, but more tons of beets must go through the plant. Processing costs the same regardless of the amount of sugar recovered. And plants are limited to a given capacity, so low-sugar beets cost both the company and the producer.

“ ‘If you want to get the most recoverable sugar, nitrogen management is the key,’ says John Moraghan, soil scientist
at North Dakota State University.

“Last year he studied commercial fields in Walsh County where some good growers capable of raising high yields had been raising low quality beets, low in sugar and high in sodium. Even when taking into consideration such variables as varieties, management, stands, Cercospora and planting dates, he found that nitrate dominated everything.

“ ‘Nitrates came through like a beacon. We have to look for fields that are dark green in late fall. That’s the giveaway as far as the quality problem is concerned. We have to manage rotations and fertilizer so that at the end of the season, fields will be showing yellow,’ Moraghan advises.” 

Count Adult Flies Before Applying Insecticides — “If you’re a Red River Valley sugarbeet grower who has been routinely applying insecticides to control sugarbeet root maggot, you may have been spending money needlessly.

“About the only grower who should routinely apply sugarbeet maggot control insecticides is the grower who has had a long-term maggot problem, says Andy Anderson, North Dakota State University entomologist. Just because a neighbor down the road a couple miles has a problem is no reason to apply maggot control insecticides.

“Anderson is in the process of developing a monitoring program to check the insect population, then determine the point at which he can correlate adult insect numbers with damage. Based on that information, he can make a recommendation to treat or not in June rather than a grower assuming he routinely has to apply maggot control insecticides in April or early May.”

Read our entire issue and back issues. Click here.

<![CDATA[30 Years Ago Excerpts from the February 1984 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower ]]>Sat, 01 Feb 2014 19:24:52 GMThttp://www.sugarpub.com/30-years-ago/30-years-ago-excerpts-from-the-february-1984-issue-of-the-sugarbeet-growerPicture
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.”

Read our entire issue and back issues. Click here.

Rep. Huckaby Says Sugar Program Safe — “Rep. Jerry Huckaby, D-LA, says he expects the current U.S. sugar price support program to remain largely unchanged when the new farm bill is written in 1985. “Huckaby, addressing the International Sweetener Colloquium in Florida, said any changes made would probably result in a slight increase rather than a decrease in the support price. 

“Huckaby’s views were in direct contrast to those expressed by Sen. John Chafee, R-RI, and Rep. Thomas Downey, D-NY, who told the group they expected [Congress] to either eliminate the sugar program or at least modify the support prices next year.

“Huckaby, chairman of the House Agriculture Cotton, Rice and Sugar subcommittee, said the loan program must remain in effect or the U.S. sugar industry would nearly collapse. He said most producers now are ‘operating very close to the margin,’ and removal of the program would put them out of business. . . .

“The audience was mostly opposed to Huckaby’s views. Questioners were in favor of removing government involvement, but Huckaby defended it, saying the U.S. needs ‘to keep our industry.’ ”
<![CDATA[30 Years Ago Excerpts from the January 1984 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower ]]>Wed, 01 Jan 2014 17:17:02 GMThttp://www.sugarpub.com/30-years-ago/30-years-ago-excerpts-from-the-january-1984-issue-of-the-sugarbeet-growerSugarbeet Grower 1984
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.”

Read our entire issue and back issues. Click here.

Redroot Pigweed Still Leads As Worst Sugarbeet Weed — “Results from the annual [Minnesota-North
Dakota] cultural practice and pesticide use survey . . . held few surprises, showing that redroot pigweed still leads the parade of most wanted (dead) weeds in sugarbeet fields. Kochia problems have increased in the last two years. It now ranks a distant second to redroot pigweed, just ahead of common lambsquarters. 
“Another factor pointed out by the survey is the greatly increased use of postemergence herbicides. And that was really no surprise to Allan Cattanach and Alan Dexter, who conducted the survey. Cattanach is sugarbeet specialist and Dexter is sugarbeet weed specialist, North Dakota State University and University of Minnesota. . . . ”

Fitzsimons Moves Easily From Farm to Legislature to Representing Growers / By Ross Collins — “Richard W. Fitzsimons had stood up for rural Minnesota for 24 years as a state legislator from Argyle and nearby Warren. He cared
for the land, true, but the land told more to Fitzsimons than crops and cattle. It also told of archaeology and of history, of the ancient nomadic tribes trudging under a glacier of his imagination, of Indian wars and settlers’ plows. It was his hobby, history, and his devotion at the capitol. And perhaps more than any other person of the past three decades, Fitzsimons was keeper of Minnesota’s past.

“ ‘I would say if you were to point out the legislator who has had the greatest impact on our programs in the last 30 years, it would be Dick Fitzsimons,’ said Russell Fridley, director of the Minnesota Historical Society since 1955.

“The point is, Fitzsimons, the Argyle farmer first elected a conservative state representative in 1952, was a history buff, and a powerful one. He’d been on nearly every committee the house offers, but for ten years beginning in 1963, he was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. . . .

“That was an extremely powerful position he had, and he was very influential,’ said Moorhead attorney William Dosland, another former legislator. “Fitzsimons, 61, now living in Moorhead and executive director of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, laughs when told that. But he doesn’t deny it.

“When I was in the legislature, the income to the state was exceeding the degree of growth,’ Fitzsimons said. ‘There was money available — each biennium brought in more money than was expected.’ . . . .

“In November 1975, the senior member of the legislature announced his retirement. It was to be the beginning of a new life, but one still tied to his two former ones: farming and politics. He became executive director of the sugarbeet growers association, a lobbying and information group for farmers.

“With this job I have rather close contact with the legislatures of Minnesota and North Dakota, and in Washington,’ he said. ‘So I never really left the political arena.”

Nebraska Claims Honor of First Successful Sugarbeet Factory in the United States / By William F. Rapp — “According to some historians, Nebraska has the honor of having the first successful sugarbeet factory in the United States. If we define the word ‘successful’ to mean a factory that operated every year since its construction, then the factory at Grand Island, Nebraska, deserves the honor, as this plant operated from 1890 until 1964, a total of 74 years. . . .

“Grand Island was a community settled largely by immigrants from Germany, many of whom had an agricultural background and were familiar with the sugarbeet industry in Germany and France. In 1887, Henry Koenig and several of his friends decided that possibly the land in the Grand Island area could produce a good quality sugarbeet. Seeds were imported from Germany and France and test plots were laid out. These initial tests showed that beets grown in the Grand Island area had a sugar content of 18%. . . .

“The Grand Island group continued their sugarbeet tests in 1888 and 1889. The results of the tests were so satisfactory that it was decided to build a beet sugar factory at Grand Island. A total of $100,000 was raised by public subscription. With this incentive, Koenig and his committee began a search for processing equipment. They were able to locate a defunct factory in Canada and to purchase it for $210,000. . . .

“The plant was completed by late summer of 1890 and the first campaign was in the fall of 1890 when the plant produced 20,000 one hundred pound bags of sugar. The Grand Island beet sugar factory was known as the Oxnard Beet Sugar Company until 1934 when it was sold to the American Crystal Sugar Company. The factory ceased operation in 1964.”
<![CDATA[ 30 Years Ago Excerpts from the December 1983 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower  ]]>Wed, 06 Nov 2013 16:56:36 GMThttp://www.sugarpub.com/30-years-ago/-30-years-ago-excerpts-from-the-december-1983-issue-of-the-sugarbeet-growerPicture
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.’ ” 

Growers Urged to Select Land for Sugarbeets With Extreme Care — “Farmers who intend to plant sugarbeets next spring must select their acreage care- fully, according to an extension specialist.

“Disease, erosion, rotations, as well as the Payment-in-Kind program, are all potential problems the producer may face when determining where to plant next year’s beets, Allan Cattanach, sugarbeet specialist for NDSU and the University of Minnesota, said in a news release.

“Cattanach says idled PIK acres may have too much nitrogen for producing quality sugarbeets. On fallow fields, excessive deep nitrogen may also accumulate, he said.

“An NDSU study this fall of fields to be planted to sugarbeets next year shows many with excessive nitrogen available. Of all fallow fields sampled, 72 percent have more than 100 pounds and 56 percent have more than 120 pounds of residual nitrogen per acre. However, recrop fields to be planted to sugarbeets next year showed only 13 percent with more than 100 pounds of residual nitrate.

“For all Red River Valley summer fallow fields sam- pled, regardless of the crop to be planted next year, 46 per- cent had more than 120 pounds per acre of residual nitrate available.

“Excessively wet PIK acres in the mid-Red River Valley could delay spring planting, and late planting usually means poor quality beets. Erosion on PIK acres is a potentially serious problem if 1984 proves to be an open winter.” 

Work by Senator (Farmer) Mark Andrews Pays Off for Sugarbeet Research Building — “Trust a farmer to realize the importance of ‘seed money.’

“The farmer in this case is Sen. Mark Andrews (R-ND), whose efforts have resulted in a Congressional resolution and Presidential signature making $850,000 available for preliminary work on a proposed United States Depart- ment of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) building on the North Dakota State University campus. . . .

“The new building will provide an opportunity to
house scientists conducting sunflower and sugarbeet research including biotechnology in one building. It will also combine two electron microscope laboratories . . . .

“ARS scientists and NDSU researchers have devoted considerable effort to sunflower and sugarbeet research over the years. The 1983 North Dakota legislative has funded six new technical positions to work in the area of basic and applied biotechnology research efforts. In addition, ARS has plans to expanded tis- sue culture techniques in basic genetic work with the  sunflower and sugarbeet programs.”

Fructose Transforms U.S. Sweetener Market / By Robert Barry and Fred Gray, USDA Economic Re- search Service — “The sweetener market has been radically trans-

formed by the introduction of a continuous enzymatic process for mass production of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) a decade ago. From a clearly commanding position in the sweetener market, sugar has moved to a shared importance with HFCS.

“Now, just short of full maturation of HFCS within the sweetener complex, a new presence is providing dramatic possibilities. Aspartame (APM), a low-caloric sweetener nearly 200 times as sweet as sucrose, was approved for dry products use in 1981. Its biggest potential, however, opened up just four months ago when the Food and Drug Administration approved APM use in carbonated soft drinks. Since then, all major soft drink companies have adopted APM in varying degrees, and all will have at least one reformulated diet drink using APM by year end.

“We are moving toward a new era of multiple sweet- ener use. More sweeteners will be used in combination for particular products to meet smaller, more specific markets. Note, for instance, the market segmentation in soft drinks this past year — from full-caloric to no-cal, lo-cal, caffeine- free, and salt-free products!

“Sugar, however, continues to be important. Sugar has a range of virtues for industrial use, apart from simple sweetening power. This year, sugar’s share of caloric (let us also mean nutritive) sweeteners in the U.S. market is estimated at 58 percent; its share of all sweeteners, includ- ing no-cal and lo-cal, 53 percent.”