Hunts Ordered to Pay Growers — “A federal judge in Denver has ordered the Hunt brothers of Dallas and three companies they control to pay sugarbeet growers $31.2 million for denying them a share of profits made in the commodities market in the 1970s. The order and judgment issued by U.S. District Court Judge Zita L. Weinshienk also sets up a procedure to distribute the money to beet growers in several states and a trust to pay them back.
“The judgment, which includes $11.8 million in actual damages, $13.5 million in punitive damages and $5.9 million in interest, came against the Hunts, the Great Western Sugar Co., and Great Western United Corp. and Western Investment Co. “It stemmed from a January 1982 jury verdict in favor of growers in Colorado and other states who raised beets for the Hunts’ Great Western Sugar Co. in 1974. The class-action lawsuit claimed that the Hunts improperly withheld payments owned growers from profits earned by the Hunts in commodity futures trading.”
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Rep. Huckaby Says Sugar Program Safe -- “Rep. Jerry Huckaby, D-LA, says he expects the current U.S. sugar price support program to remain largely unchanged when the new farm bill is written in 1985. “Huckaby, addressing the International Sweetener Colloquium in Florida, said any changes made would probably result in a slight increase rather than a decrease in the support price.
“Huckaby’s views were in direct contrast to those expressed by Sen. John Chafee, R-RI, and Rep. Thomas Downey, D-NY, who told the group they expected [Congress] to either eliminate the sugar program or at least modify the support prices next year.
“Huckaby, chairman of the House Agriculture Cotton, Rice and Sugar subcommittee, said the loan program must remain in effect or the U.S. sugar industry would nearly collapse. He said most producers now are ‘operating very close to the margin,’ and removal of the program would put them out of business. . . .
“The audience was mostly opposed to Huckaby’s views. Questioners were in favor of removing government involvement, but Huckaby defended it, saying the U.S. needs ‘to keep our industry.’ ”