With the American Sugarbeet Growers Association celebrating some history of its own, it was appropriate for the group to gather in a very historic city — Charleston, S.C. — for its 2010 annual meeting. ASGA marks its
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.)
As ironical as it may sound, the new president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association actually placed his college education on hold for this crop.
Russ Mauch was a student at North Dakota State University in the fall of 1974 — a time that coincided with the first harvest for growers of the new Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative. Among the original stockholders in the Wahpeton, N.D.- based co-op were Mauch’s father and brother, Bernard and Randy. They needed more manpower to bring in that initial beet crop, and Russ made himself available. “So I took off the fall semester of my sophomore year to drive sugarbeet truck,” he smilingly recounts.
ASGA Executive Vice President Luther Markwart
Outlines Association Priorities for Coming Year
In what areas will the American Sugarbeet Growers Association be focusing its efforts during the coming year? Luther Markwart, ASGA’s longtime executive vice president, updated members on several of the association’s top 2010 priorities during the group’s annual meeting in early February.
• Crop Insurance — ASGA has worked for several years toward the removal of stages for sugarbeet crop insurance. That effort, which began with a pilot project in Minnesota, has now culminated in stage removal in all U.S. sugarbeet states except California (whose growers typically do not take out crop insurance on beets).
Why the Beet Sugar Processing
Sector Is So Concerned
This chart compares the levels of annual greenhouse gas emissions (as of 2007) that come from various industries, including sugarbeet processing. The beet sugar sector — at 4.3 million metric tons of CO2 — is very minor compared to the other noted industries, both “covered” and “not covered.”
Results from Year One of Idaho Strip-Tillage Study
By Amber Moore, Don Morishita & Oliver Neher*
The introduction of strip tillage to sugarbeet production in southern Idaho has brought challenges as well as opportunities to local beet growers. One challenge is accounting for chaff (residue) trails left behind by combines. These trails create uneven distribution of residue throughout the field, which can be a challenge for ensuing crop production with strip tillage.
Specifically, growers are concerned that the areas with little residue will be droughty and more susceptible to weed growth, while areas with heavy residue coverage may have more fertilizer and herbicide binding in the residue — and more soil-borne disease pressure under a cooler, more-moist and higher-carbon soil environment.
Editor & General Manager of The Sugarbeet Grower