Allan Cattanach grew up on a central Wisconsin hog and dairy farm. Larry Smith’s father was a John Deere dealer in east central Minnesota. Having spent their formative years far away from sugarbeet country, neither could have imagined that their respective careers would end up being constructed around this crop. But that’s exactly what transpired — and now, after nearly four decades as two of the most recognizable names and faces in the Upper Midwest sugarbeet community, both men are transitioning toward retirement.
Smith, who joined the staff of the University of Minnesota’s Northwest Experiment Station at Crookston in 1971, fully retires from the university in May. Cattanach, who became American Crystal Sugar Company’s general agronomist in 1998 following more than two decades as University of Minnesota/ North Dakota State University extension sugarbeet specialist, is “on a phased retirement plan.” He expects a more-defined timetable to be worked out by this coming summer in consultation with his Crystal employers.
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