Since we are actively involved in ongoing litigation, very little can be written or discussed publicly about the case. A strong reminder is extended to all growers that no interviews should be conducted until this case is completed.
A very important factor comes into play in our case. On April 27, the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., will hear an appeal regarding the Roundup Ready alfalfa case. The beet sugar industry, in conjunction with the National Corn Growers Association, has filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Monsanto’s arguments in the case.
A ruling by the Supreme Court is expected in June, which may clarify various issues for the 9th Circuit Court in regard to the pending Roundup Ready sugarbeet case. Oral arguments regarding the permanent remedy for the sugarbeet case currently are scheduled for July 9.
On March 31, USDA published its planting intentions report for the 2010 sugarbeet crop. Planted area is expected to drop by 9,000 acres — from 1,183,200 acres last year to 1,174,200 acres this season.
Lower acreage in a stronger market clearly suggests that with adequate moisture to begin the season, we expect yields to be strong again this year. Our industry is running at full processing capacity; thus acreage must be modified to adjust for higher yields.
Supply & Demand
USDA’s March estimate for yearend carry over stocks was at 10.3%, which means the U.S. would have 1,075,000 tons (raw value) of sugar in the warehouses as we begin harvesting the 2010 crop in September.
April 9 is the date for the next monthly estimate of supply and demand, and USDA is working hard to make sure it has the best numbers possible.
Under the current farm bill, USDA may now add sugar to the market if it deems that supplies are needed and unrestricted imports from Mexico do not threaten to oversupply the market. In March, USDA identified countries that would not ship their quota and gave their shares to countries that could deliver to our market before
The beet sugar industry’s view is that there is adequate sugar to meet consumer needs without more imports at this time. We continue to closely monitor the government’s actions.
We are now in the process of collecting data for replant costs nationwide. Current coverage for replants is woefully inadequate, and we are working closely with USDA on getting the best data available to update those costs so better coverage for replants may be in place for the 2011 crop.
There are a host of ongoing issues surrounding America’s diet — everything from updating dietary guidelines to what products may be advertised to children under 17 years of age. The obesity epidemic, particularly among our youth, is the top priority for First Lady Michelle Obama and the focus of the congressional spouses. Better diets and more exercise are the basic thrust of their focus. This clearly has many implications for sweeteners, and we are working with our customers to navigate our way through these issues.