Excerpts from the Winter 1967 issue of the The Sugarbeet Grower
Acreage Allotments Removed for 1967
Production of beet sugar in 1965 and again in 1966, years in which government acreage controls were in effect, failed by a considerable margin to reach statutory quota levels of 3,025,000 tons.
Removal of proportionate shares for the 1967 crop by the Department of Agriculture are intended to make possible certain shifts in production and, hopefully, to enable to industry to produce beet sugar in such volume that inventory levels by January 1, 1968 will be restored to 82 to 90% range recommended by congress in 1965.
Minnesota’s congressman Odin Langen has been a long-time critic of the Department of Agriculture’s decision to allocate acreage to New York and Maine for new processing facilities made possible by 1962 amendments to the Sugar Act which created an acreage reserve. His reasoning has been that such allocations should have gone to well established areas who have demonstrated ability to grow beets and willingness to expand.
New York has now completed two years of growing beets and refining sugar and no one would label the results thus far as an outstanding accomplishment by present day standards.
Acreage in 1966 was something like 6,500 acres – well below the level of set-aside from the acreage reserve. Growers and company are anticipating an increase for 1967 to a level of 15,000 acres or more.
The good congressman’s chiding of the New York operation has stimulated a lot of press comments in and around Auburn and his criticism may turn out to be the stimulant needed to increase acreage considerably in 1967. Sugar content of beets grown was well above average and yields from growers who got their crop in and followed recommended practices were, again, at or above national average.
Maine’s first year production was not a record setter by any standard, but, as in New York, enough interest was stimulated to look optimistically to the future.
Limited Acreage Increase in Nation Predicted; Valley Up 20,000 Acres
The Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota, long recognized as the nation’s number one sugarbeet expansion area, will contract an additional 20,000 acres as a result of lifting of acreage restrictions in 1967.
C.W. Briggs, president of the American Crystal Sugar Company which operates four processing plants in the valley, said the additional acreage will bring all four mills up to present slicing capacity. The additional acreage will bring the valley total to over 165,000 acres and will produce an estimated 2,000, 000 tons of beets.
In addition to the allocating a 10% increase to most old growers, the company brought the acreage of a number of small growers up to more economic levels. Briggs said the company also contracted 4,000 new acres to new growers in the Breckenridge-Wahpeton area and will establish a beet dump near Wahpeton.
American Crystal, Holly Expansion Plans Could Make Red River Valley Nation’s ‘Sugar Bowl’
Announced expansion plans by American Crystal Sugar Company and Holly Sugar Corporation for the Red River Valley could make the valley the nation’s sugar bowl by 1969.
American Crystal, which operates plants at Moorhead, Crookston, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota and Drayton, North Dakota in the valley, has announced plans to increase the capacity of their Moorhead and Crookston processing facilities starting in 1968. According to President C.W. Briggs, the company plans to contract 192,000 acres in 1968 – up from 167,000 this year – and will add another 15 to 20,000 acres in 1969. Capacity of the Moorhead and Crookston plants will be in excess of 5,000 tons per day by 1969.
Holly Sugar Corporation has announced plans to construct a 6,000 ton per day plant, similar to the firm’s Shoup plant in Hereford, Texas, in time to handle some 50,000 acres of sugarbeets in 1969.
Plantings in the entire valley, assuming completion of these projects, would total more than 250,000 acres in 1969.
Southern Red River Valley Group ‘Exploring’ Exploration of the possibilities of construction of a sugarbeet processing plant in the Wahpeton-Breckenridge vicinity is being continued by directors of the Southern Red River Valley Sugarbeet Corp.
Working with the corporation, which is an organization of about 600 North Dakota and Minnesota farmers, is Richard H. Barry, a partner in the Barry and Co., Fargo business and financial consulting firm
The plan, according to James Link, president of the farmers’ organization, is to construct a processing plant costing about $25 million in a joint venture between the farmers of the southern Red River Valley and an undisclosed sugar company.
Link and Barry said that under the proposal farmers of the area who raise sugarbeets will benefit through owning a substantial part of the processing plant.
Barry said it will take several weeks to determine answers to legal technicalities involved in the proposal.
The Southern Red River Valley Sugarbeet Corp. was formed about 10 years ago for the express purpose of obtaining a beet sugar refining plant in the southern part of the Red River Valley.
Maine Crop Shapes Future With Maine’s sugarbeet harvest in full swing by early November, it was plain that the beet was already firmly rooted as a new crop in the state’s agriculture picture and would play an even more important part in the future.
Average yields from the nearly 10,000 acres being harvested were running between 12 and 15 tons of beets to the acre, according to Neal B. Kelley, general manager of the beet sugar factory of Maine Sugar Industries, Inc., at Easton in Aroostook county. This range compares favorably with average per-acre yields in most of the other non-irrigated beet-producing areas of the U.S. and even exceeds some of the irrigated areas.
Some of the Maine acres were yielding up to 25 tons per acre.
Sugar content of the beets arriving at the Easton plant was averaging between 15 and 16 percent, Mr. Kelley said, percentages that compare favorably with the national average.