Above: The 2011 ASGA audience hoists a toast — with cans of sugar-sweetened “Pepsi Throwback” — to Kelly Clay (front, center) and Admiral Beverage, the Worland, Wyo.-based company that has championed the use of sugar in its products. Shown with Clay are his good friend John Snyder (left), president of the Washakie Beet Growers Cooperative, and Russ Mauch, ASGA president. - Photo: ASGA
Russ Mauch - Photo By Don Lilleboe
The current president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, Barney, N.D., producer Russ Mauch, touched upon several key areas of ASGA priority and activity during his commentary toward the conclusion of the group’s 2011 annual meeting in Tucson, Ariz. A significant portion of his remarks dealt with biotech issues — specifically, the long and ongoing litigation regarding the availability of Roundup Ready® sugarbeets for 2011 and beyond. Below are excerpts from Mauch’s presentation.
Cal Jones - Photo By Don Hall
A 42-year career in the sugarbeet industry is drawing to a close for Cal Jones; and it’s ending, to his great satisfaction, not far from where it started.
Jones is retiring April 1 as president and CEO of Worland-based Wyoming Sugar Company, LLC. As the crow flies, Worland is just 65 miles from Powell, where he grew up. His career has taken him to Montana, Texas, Colorado, back to Texas — and then, in 2002, home to Wyoming. During that time, he has successively served as a sugar company agriculturist, agricultural manager, byproduct sales director, vice president of agriculture, vice president-commodities and company president/CEO.
But Jones’ earliest sugarbeet memories come from fields east of Powell. His uncle, Earl Jones (father of Terry Jones, a former American Sugarbeet Growers Association president), grew beets, and Cal worked for him. “Terry and I have many memories of working side-by-side at various farming activities,” he says.
“My most vivid memories are of when we decided we could make some ‘easy money’ thinning beets (with short-handle hoes) like the ‘nationals’ (migrants), who made it look easy. We were definitely wrong — but had to complete the task we had agreed to perform!”
Setting irrigation tubes is another seared memory from that north central Wyoming youth during the ’50s and ’60s. As any veteran irrigator understands, “we not only had to move the tubes to the head ditch, but had to pick them up and move them farther down the ditch for the next set. That farm enterprise needed more irrigation tubes!”
Following high school, Cal received an agricultural scholarship to Northwest Community College in Powell, where he earned an associate degree in general agriculture. He continued his education at the University of Wyoming, earning a B.S. degree in crop science.
Transition Rapid & Successful - Michigan Grower Chris Guza Embraces Strip-Till System & Switch to Narrow Rows - By Don Lilleboe
Though 2011 will be just his third year producing sugarbeets under a strip-till system, Chris Guza has already implemented some big changes.
First, he has replaced his original strip-till unit — a converted row-crop cultivator — with a new SoilWarrior machine manufactured by Environmental Tillage Systems (ETS). And second, he has now transitioned from 30-inch rows into 22s.
Guza, who farms in Michigan’s Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola counties, moved into strip till in 2008 because of the opportunities he saw for reduced field passes in preparing his seedbed. He was already planting his beets into a stale seedbed and liked it. “But we didn’t like how much effort it took to get the ground fit to stale seedbed,” he recounts. Most of Guza’s sugarbeets follow corn. “So we’d harvest the corn, shred the stalks, variable-rate apply our P and K (in separate passes), disk rip and then field cultivate.”
Chile’s beet sugar production has averaged 323,000 metric tons, raw value, over the past decade, and the sector continues to be among the world’s lowest-cost beet sugar producers. Growth in sugar consumption has led to substantial annual imports of refined sugar, with the bulk of these imports coming from other Latin American countries, particularly Argentina.
Don Lilleboe is editor of 'The Sugarbeet Grower' and 'Gilmore Sugar Manual.'