Coke Bottlers Suing Parent Company -- “The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Elizabethtown, Ky., said that it and 95 other Coke bottlers were suing the parent Coca-Cola Company over its use of a cheaper sugar substitute in its syrup and for alleged overpricing.
“A Coca-Cola Company spokesman said the company was aware of the suits, viewed them as without merit and would oppose them vigorously.
“The independent bottlers have refused to sign an amended contract with Atlanta Coke that gives the parent greater freedom to raise syrup prices as well as greater control over advertising and marketing. More than 80 percent of Coke’s 550 bottlers are said to have signed the contract.
“William Schmidt, president of Elizabethtown Coke, said the bottlers contend that Atlanta Coke has violated a 1921 agreement under which the parent company agreed to use only ‘sugar’ in its syrup, but early last year decided to use instead a high-fructose corn sweetener normally 10 percent cheaper. He said the company had refused to pass on the savings.”
What Is in the Future for the Sugar Industry? -- “Inclusion of a sugar program in general agriculture legislation, now being considered by Congress, is ‘vitally important to consumer interests and essential for the economic survival of domestic sugar producers,’ according to David C. Carter, president, U.S. Beet Sugar Association.
“Testifying before [a] U.S. Senate Agriculture subcommittee on March 6, Carter noted sugar is one of the nation’s basic commodities and a dependable source of sugar is ‘paramount’ to the food processing industry.
“ ‘U.S. producers provide almost one-half of the country’s annual sugar requirements and, year upon year, have proven to be the most dependable source of this strategically important product,’ he said.
“Currently, the USDA reports beet sugar processors provide 30 percent of total U.S. sugar demand, now estimated at more than 85 lbs. per capita annually. . . .
“Since the expiration of the Sugar Act in 1974, the U.S. has experienced a short term of relatively high prices, followed by a long period of extremely depressed prices, then succeeded by a rapidly escalating market. ‘These conditions not only meant price instability for consumers,’ [Carter] said, ‘but also contributed to the permanent closing of 13 out of the nation’s 56 beet processing plants since 1974.’ ”
Editor’s Note: Congress voted to support the domestic sugar industry by providing a nonrecourse loan program for sugar under the Food and Agriculture Act of 1981. In part due to assumptions about inflation prospects, Congress mandated increases in the loan rate over four years, to 18 cents by the 1985 crop. Loan rates differed by location so that loans would not distort the routine marketing of sugar. A sugar import quota system was implemented in May of 1982.
USDA’s Estimate for 1981-82 Sugarbeet Planting Intentions — “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimate of 1981-82 sugarbeet planting intentions of 1,256,100 acres, up from last year’s 1,231,600 acres, fell fully in line with expectations of industry sources.
“Dave Carter, president of the U.S. Beet Sugar Association, said the 2 percent increase held no surprises. The decision by Colorado-based Great Western Sugar Co. to reduce plantings in five states was announced last month and has been absorbed in the market, he said.
“Carter said the increase acreage mostly represents the additional acreage planned for California, which was expected since it is the only major area which still has available capacity for processing.
“Ben Goodwin, Executive Director of the California Beet Growers Association, said the USDA estimate of 270,000 acres for California, up from last year’s plantings of 234,000 acres, seemed a bit high and could present difficulties around planting time.
“ ‘It could mean growers won’t be able to harvest in a reasonable amount of time. Beets left too long in the ground could be hit by a virus. Also, if they can’t get the beets harvested by spring, growers won’t be able to get the next crop in the ground,’ Goodwin said.”
Advertisers as of April/May 1981 -- A listing of those companies advertising in the April/May 1981 issue of The Sugarbeet Grower is illuminating. Some are no longer in business; some are no longer marketing the product or service advertised in 1981; and some of the products are still around — but are now sold by a different company. Here’s the list:
• FBC Chemicals, Inc. (Nortron Flowable herbicide)
• Lindsay Bros. Co. (J&J Cultiguide steer systems)
• Cyanamid Ag Division (Counter 15-G insecticide)
• Loftness Manufacturing (beet defoliators)
• Stauffer Chemical Co. (Eptam herbicide)
• NOR-AM Ag Products (Betanex/Betanal herbicides)
• Lockwood Corp. (beet defoliator and harvester)
• Blue Cross & Blue Shield of N.D. (health ed info)
• Union Carbide Ag Products (Temik pesticide)
• Minto (N.D.) Machine Shop (Harriston Spreeder)
• Production Credit Assn. of Minn. and N.D.
• Ag Chem Pennwalt (Herbicide 273)
• John Deere (JD 4310A beet harvester)
• Lasco, Inc. (electric Lightning Weeder)