35th anniversary this year; and with sugar prices strong and a favorable farm bill being administered, there was good reason for an upbeat atmosphere at this winter’s meeting. Nearly 300 growers, spouses and affiliated
industry gathered at the event, held January 31-February 2.
But the sugarbeet industry is never without serious challenges, and meeting participants heard about them as well. Ongoing legal issues regarding Roundup Ready® sugarbeets and the prospective impact on the beet processing sector of pending climate change legislation were among the important topics covered. House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson addressed the meeting via phone, stating the sugar program is working well.
Pictured on these pages are several of the speakers who addressed the ASGA audience. A profile of new president Russ Mauch is on pages 8 and 9, with a summary of executive vice president Luther Markwart’s comments beginning on page 12. Finally, on pages 16 and 17, we carry a synopsis of remarks by Janet Anderson on the impact that climate change legislation could have on the beet sugar sector. (The sugar market commentary presented by the American Sugar Alliance’s Jack Roney was reported upon in the February issue of The Sugarbeet Grower.)
Miller said USDA believes domestic sugar stocks are adequate for the short term, but that the agency also monitors closely the global shortages that have led to higher world market sugar prices. On the Mexican situation, he reported that U.S. and Mexican government representatives have met — in his office — to discuss the issues of sugar and HFCS trade between the two countries under what is now essentially a “common market” under the terms of NAFTA. Referring to the recommendations of the U.S.-Mexico industry task force, Miller said “we have committed to work with our colleagues in Mexico to provide you with a unified response” — hopefully by this spring.
The Seven Revolutions that Peterson described include: (1) Population — Today the world supports 6.9 billion people; by 2025 it will have 8.0 billion. The population is getting older as life expectancy increases, and it’s also becoming increasingly urban. (2) Resource Management — The agricultural community continues to produce more food, but there are some critical constraints, with the most crucial by 2025 being that of water. (3) Technology — “Deep computing” and “pervasive computing” are ever-intensifying facts of life. (4) Knowledge — The sheer rate of increase translates into less time for making more-complex decisions. (5) Integration — The world is increasingly interconnected, with a fundamental shift occurring in global production/consumption patterns. (6) Conflict — We have moved beyond the Cold War era into one threatened by “terrorist groups with no return address.” (7) Governance — Walmart represents the world’s 31st biggest economy, an example of globalization and its implications for how nations govern.
We live in a time of both “promise and opportunity” and “peril and instability,” Peterson stated. The overriding need is for national “leaders, not managers,” with the vision to leverage the positive.
Below left: Kelly Smith of the American Beverage Association addressed the issue of states implementing new taxes on soft drinks and how her organization is working against them. The severe budget pressures faced by numerous states means “everybody is looking for money,” Smith noted — and new excise and/or sales taxes are seen as one answer. The beverage sector is taking an increasingly aggressive approach in resisting such taxes, she reported.
You may click on the images below to enlarge.
Above Top Right: Russ Mauch (right), incoming American Sugarbeet Growers Association president from Barney, N.D., presents outgoing president Alan Welp with a plaque in recognition of his outstanding service to the organization during his two-year term. Welp farms near the northeastern Colorado community of Wray.
Above Lower Right: The ASGA leadership team for the coming year includes, left to right: Luther Markwart, executive vice president; Russ Mauch, president; Kelly Erickson, Hallock, Minn., vice president; and Mike Wheeler, Declo, Idaho, treasurer.
Above Lower Center: Wayne Tang (left) of Felton, Minn., was one of three outgoing directors recognized by Alan Welp for their service to ASGA. Other exiting board members were Terry Jones of Powell, Wyo., and Jeff Bieber of Fairview, Mont.
Above Lower Right: John Snyder, president of the Washakie Beet Growers Association, displays sodas containing sugar, not HFCS. Cans of ‘Throwback’ Pepsi, Dr Pepper and Mountain Dew were bottled and donated by Admiral Beverage of Worland, Wyo., for enjoyment by ASGA members during the Tuesday morning meeting break.