Excerpts from the Summer 1967 issue of The Sugarbeet Grower
Spreckel’s New Arizona Plant in Middle of First ‘Campaign’
Spreckels Sugar Company’s newest facility at Chandler, Arizona is now midway in its first “campaign,” the sugar industry’s jargon for the sugar making season.
Beginning in May the plant began converting 4,250 tons of beets per day into about 1 million pounds of gleaming white sugar.
Ground for the new facility was broken in November, 1964, a few months after Arizona won a federal allotment for planting 20,000 acres of sugarbeets.
On a 640-acre site five miles south of Chandler, Spreckels built one of the nation’s most modern sugar manufacturing facilities. It is the fifth factory for the 70-year-old firm; the other four are in California.
Sugar factories are rated by their “slicing campaign,’ the amount of beets it takes to keep the sophisticated equipment busy around the clock. At Chandler, the capacity is 4,250 tons per day, the harvest from roughly 200 acres.
As the raw material undergoes the six to eight hour process of conversion into sugar, technicians in a master control room will monitor all of the important steps electronically. The monitoring equipment keeps track of miles of pipes, hundreds of circuits, over 200 pumps of numerous other devices.
During the campaign, electricity will come from the plant’s own generators. They are capable of producing enough power to take care of nearby cities of Chandler, Tempe and Mesa.
Spreckels has its own 16,000-foot railroad system, terminating near a storage complex that is large enough to hold about two-thirds of a season’s 100-million-pound production. Six concrete silos rise 116 feet above the Valley floor.
The sugar may be shipped out in bulk or liquid form, or packaged in the Spreckels plant for use by households.
Another “landmark’ of the Spreckels complex is a huge metal warehouse for storing molasses dried beet pulp, a by-product of the sugar manufacturing process. The pulp is a highly regarded feed for livestock, and it will be sold to the Valley feedlots.
Other elements of the complex include a $500,000 water conservation system, which, among other things, utilizes a large system of lagoons for cleaning waste water and returning it to use.
As all of these elements were being completed and connected, some 200 farmers in Maricopa and Pinal counties were planting their first crop of sugarbeets.
A few months later growers in higher regions of Arizona began planting beets. These beets, from such areas as Safford and Willcox, will provide a second “campaign” each fall.
During the coming months, as trucks deliver the beets to the factory on a carefully controlled schedule, each load will be sampled and analyzed to determine the worth of each farmer’s beets. Part of his payment is dependent on the percentage of sugar in his beets. Another chemical laboratory will maintain constant quality control over the sugar from the beets.
During the “campaign,” the plant will employ about 250 persons. Many members of the workforce will be employed year-around, and the plant’s annual payroll is estimated at $1.5 million.
A 30-YEAR PROJECT
ARIZONA BEET FACTORY MONUMENT TO WORK, VISION OF FLOYD N. SMITH
More than 30 years of work and vision by one Arizona man had much to do with bringing the state a new $20 million sugar factory, and the state’s farmers a multi-million dollar a year cash crop.
“I’ve been talking about a sugar mill for Arizona since 1935,” recalls Floyd N. Smith, the genial chairman of the Arizona Sugar Beet Committee. He is vice president of the Salt River Project, and a retired farmer and businessman.
Smith worked in the beet sugar industry in Colorado as a researcher and agriculturist from 1919 through 1930. He moved to Arizona to farm in 1931.
In 1934, he experimented with the growing of sugarbeet seed. He found that seeds which required two growing seasons in other states could be produced here in just one of Arizona’s long seasons. That led to a small seed growing industry that now supplies several sugar producing states.
In 1959, when the activities of the Fidel Castro government cost Cuba its share of the U.S. sugar market, Smith saw an opportunity for an expansion of domestic allotments that would allow Arizona some sugarbeet acreage.
Smith began making trips to Washington to explore the possibilities, at first working on his own. Then Paul Fannin, governor at that time and now U.S. Senator, named Smith chairman of a blue ribbon sugarbeet committee.
It was first necessary to secure an amendment of the Sugar Act to allow for added domestic acreage. Smith saw that Arizona could not win the amendment alone, so he enlisted the support of other potential sugar producing areas, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Washington. The amendment passed in 1962.
It was then necessary to simultaneously dicker for a sugarbeet allotment, in competition with 23 other states, and to attract a sugarbeet processor. Smith continued his frequent trips to Washington to negotiate with the government, while at the same time negotiating successfully with Spreckels Sugar Co.
On Dec. 10, 1963, Spreckels announced it would build a sugar processing facility in Arizona if the state could obtain an acreage allocation. On April 17, 1964, the state received a 20,000-acre allotment.
For Floyd Smith, the harvesting of this year’s beet crop and the startup of the $20 million Spreckels facility are the results of more than three decades of work and foresight.
Holly Reports Net Income Highest In Company’s History
Holly Sugar Corporation’s net income (excluding the investment tax credit) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1967, was the highest in the Corporation’s 62-year history and totaled $3,747,000, it was announced by Dennis O’Rourke, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
This represents an increase of 8% over the $3,459,000 (excluding the investment tax credit) earned during the previous fiscal year. Such income on a per share basis was $.80 for the fiscal 1967, compared to the prior fiscal year’s $2.63, adjusted for the 2-for-1 stock split in July, 1966.
Sales of Holly, the nation’s second largest producer of beet sugar, were $93,740,000 for fiscal 1967, compared to $96,847,000 for the previous fiscal year.