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More than 2,600 gift cards handed out to thank workers, boost local economies
BAY CITY – Michigan Sugar Company this week distributed more than 2,600 restaurant gift cards to its employees as a way to say “thank-you” and provide a much-needed boost to local businesses. Each of the company’s approximately 1,300 employees received $100 in gift cards that were purchased from more than 50 restaurants in communities like Bay City, Caro, Croswell and Sebewaing, as well as Fremont, Findlay and Toledo, Ohio, where Michigan Sugar also has facilities.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Red River Valley sugar beet farmers suffered through a difficult 2019 crop season and could face tough planting conditions this spring. Even so, there's big-picture reason for optimism, an industry official said.
"You all are the most sustainable beet producers in the world. You're at the forefront of the sustainability discussion," said Scott Herndon, vice president and general counsel of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association in Washington, D.C.
He spoke March 12 on the final day at the annual International Sugarbeet Institute in Grand Forks. The two-day event drew attendees from the Upper Midwest, across the country and Canada.
Sustainability is increasingly important in Washington, so it's vital for agriculture to position itself as part of the solution rather than be viewed as part of the the problem, said Herndon, who represents the sugar beet industry before Congress and the Trump administration.
A coalition of farm groups known as Farmers for a Sustainable Future is working hard to spread the good word about agriculture's positive role in sustainability, he said.
More information: sustainablefarming.us.
On a policy level, there's good news for sugar beet farmers, Herndon said. Highlights include:
Sugar beets are an important crop in the Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, which Mohamed Khan called "the nation's sugar basket."
Kahn, Extension sugar beet specialist with both the University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University and an organizer of the International Sugarbeet Institute, said it's too early to predict how 2020 planting will go for area sugar beet farmers. Part of the uncertainty is what happens to fields — on which sugar beets might be planted this spring — that couldn't be harvested last fall and still have standing crops on them.
Weather conditions in March and April will be crucial, he said.
Area sugar beet farmers are extremely productive and efficient, Khan said.
"The one thing we can't control is the weather. It can be a blessing. It can be a curse. But we just can't do anything about it," he said.
https://ift.tt/2ygpsfo Sugar Beet News |
March 31, 2020 at 10:28AM
Looking for some fun to help pass the time? Check out a few of our Sugarbeet Coloring Pages!
Download and print on an 8.5x11" sheet of paper!
Submit your masterpiece to sugarpub.com/submit for a chance to have it published in an upcoming issue!
Betaseed has been providing high quality sugarbeet varieties to California growers for over 30 years and has verified that a grower in the Imperial Valley growing region of California has set a new yield record with a Betaseed variety.
In 2019, Baja Farms, using Betaseed 5460 in a 73-acre field, averaged 80.69 ton per acre with 16.31% sugar content which produced 22,378 pounds of “recoverable” sugar per acre.
World records are not new to Betaseed. In 2011, Baja Farms, using Betaseed 4521R in a 70-acre field, averaged 78.71 ton per acre with 15.89% sugar content. Congratulations to Baja Farms for setting a new world record for a second time.
Ben Abatti Jr. and wife Judy along with sons Braden and Ben the 3rd, have been farming at Baja Farms for 44 years. Of the many different crops on their 4,500-acre farm such as alfalfa, wheat, carrots, thyme, parsley, etc., they also grow 1,200 acres of sugarbeet. “Thanks to the plant breeders and all others at Betaseed. Their varieties are keeping Baja Farms in business,” said Ben Abatti Jr.
Betaseed, Inc., headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota is the market leader in sugarbeet seed. Betaseed has had a longstanding commitment to the beet sugar industry focusing on the development of new varieties to improve the efficiency and profitability of sugar production.
For more information about Betaseed, visit betaseed.com.
The latest news on global farm trade comes as little surprise to those of us who either farm or depend on farming for our own businesses. The reality is that farmers have been struggling, between tight overseas markets and bad weather. This is especially true for young farmers in our area who are hit the hardest when cash flows tighten because we have little equity to fall back on during lean times. In tough times like those we faced this year it is hard to get political leaders in D.C. to understand.
That all being said I know there is, and always has been one person on our side in Washington, D.C., who will fight for us here in rural Minnesota: Congressman Collin Peterson. I’m a Republican, and Trump voter, who is relieved that Peterson is running for reelection, and could keep his position as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Many of our neighbors who don’t farm may think the farm economy doesn’t matter as much. But make no mistake. Every home and business in Western Minnesota has some tie to agriculture, whether directly as a farm family or farm operation, as a business that sells to farmers, or a business that relies on the money that agriculture brings to our communities.
Collin is our friend in Washington. And he is a powerful friend, on top of the House Agriculture Committee. As Chairman, Peterson shapes legislation that creates jobs in energy, transportation and shipping, supports our rural hospitals and builds out the infrastructure we need out here, whether that’s broadband networks or community centers.
We face uncertainties on the farm. Those economic uncertainties are extending through our economic system, touching homes and businesses that may not believe they are connected to agriculture, but are. The one thing we can be certain of is that Congressman Peterson is on our side, and he is devoted to Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District. That powerful stewardship of our interests in Congress cannot be replaced again, if we replace Collin. Let’s all get behind him and help him win.
24 year old, 2nd Generation Farmer
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The Red River Valley sugar beet industry struggled through a onerous 2019 harvest and could face a difficult 2020 planting season, too. But the annual International Sugarbeet Institute, set for March 11-12 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, seeks to provide encouragement and fellowship to members of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, said an organizer of the event.
"We want it to give uplifting for people involved with sugar beets," said Mohamed Khan, Extension sugar beet specialist with North Dakota State University and the Univeristy of Minnesota.
An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people will attend this year's event at which more than 125 companies, all with ties to the sugar beet industry, will exhibit their wares. Doors open at 9 a.m. both days and close at 5 p.m. March 11 and 3 p.m. March 12. Parking and admission are free, as are breakfast and lunch both days.
Typically, sugar beet equipment with a combined value of more than $3 million is exhibited each year. That reflects the growing size and sophistication of equipment used by sugar beet producers, Khan said.
Highlights this year include presentations at 10:50 a.m. March 11 by Courtney Gaine, president and CEO of the Sugar Alliance in Washington, D.C., and at 10:50 a.m. March 12 by Scott Herndon, vice president and general counsel of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.
Both presentations will help attendees to better understand big-picture issues facing the sugar beet industry, Khan said.
Listening to industry leaders and visiting with others involved in the industry are always valuable, but the opportunity to rebuild enthusiasm is especially important this year after the wet and snowy 2019 harvest, he said.
The event, which began in 1963, has changed its name and location several times. The "international" was added in 1980, when Manitoba sugar producers joined in. Today, participants come from across the country and abroad, though the majority are from the Upper Midwest.
The International Sugarbeet Institute rotates every year between the Alerus Center in Grand Forks and the Fargodome in Fargo, N.D., 75 miles to the south. Khan said the arrangement has been popular with, and convenient for, sugar beet producers in both the southern and northern Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, where sugar beets are an important crop.
https://ift.tt/3cFlooW Sugar Beet News |
March 4, 2020 at 09:00AM
The 58th annual International Sugar Beet Institute returns to the Alerus Center on March 11-12, 2020. Another sold out arena floor is expected with over 100,000 square feet of exhibits, displaying over $20,000,000 worth of products and equipment.
Doors open at 9:00am on both days. Attendees and exhibitors alike will be treated to free parking, free admission, free breakfast and free lunch on both Wednesday, March 11 and Thursday, March 12.
They create the stuff of magic, equated with deliciousness. And they could make or break a family business.
Sugar beets are a mainstay crop in Wyoming. But in northern Wyoming, where the growing conditions are optimal, farmers who grow sugar beets are facing a hardship like they’ve not seen in generations.
Between a hard frost last fall that left sugar beets frozen in the ground and mounting costs for renovations in other factories in the Western Sugar cooperative, sugar beet growers in the Bighorn Basin are facing a grim financial future.
That’s according to Kurt Dobbs, the agronomist and field representative for the Bighorn Co-op in the northern half of the Bighorn Basin.
“The farmers around this area, they grow really good beets and are very good at yield,” he pointed out. “But it’s been three years in a row that they haven’t received the money that they need to receive for their crop.”
The growers in the Bighorn Basin are part of the Western Sugar Cooperative, which has factories in Lovell, Billings, Montana, Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Fort Morgan, Colorado.
The Lovell producers farm over 16,000 acres of beets collectively, according to Casey Crosby, a fourth-generation sugar beet grower in Cowley.
Crosby, who also has a masters degree in business, said the economic hit of crop losses to the local communities could exceed $14 million.
“It’s a challenging time in agriculture in general, but right now, with the issues we’ve had with our co-op, and then the weather on top of that, it’s crippled a lot of farmers,” he said.
Those issues include bad weather in two of the last three years. In between, when the harvest should have yielded a payment, Crosby said the profit went to offset costs in other areas of the Western Sugar Cooperative.
Rodney Perry, the Denver-based CEO of Western Sugar, said that the organization is working with the USDA on a disaster relief program that may provide area farmers with some much-needed assistance.
Perry noted the program is similar to the federal government’s WHIP assistance fund (Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus), which provides disaster payments to offset losses from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms and wildfire.
Crosby said the assistance could mean the difference in whether or not many growers will be able to farm next year.
Crosby is one of the lucky ones – of the 4,000 acres that he farms with another local grower, only 700 of those acres are planted in sugar beets. But as Dobbs pointed out, there are many other farmers whose livelihoods depend on the sugar beet crop.
“The farmers have to get paid for their sugar beets and they haven’t been,” Dobbs said. “So if that continues, you will see farmers going bankrupt.”
https://ift.tt/2v8HDlY Sugar Beet News |
via Cowboy State Daily https://ift.tt/2T33Ytj
February 21, 2020 at 03:24PM
Written By: Ann Bailey
HILLSBORO – American Crystal Sugar Co. in Hillsboro apparently has finished slicing sugar beets, about three and half months earlier than it typically completes the campaign.
The company posted on its Facebook page Wednesday, Feb. 5, that the Hillsboro factory finished slicing at 3:05 p.m, Monday, Feb. 3. Calls were made by the Herald to American Crystal Sugar Co. to confirm the information, but those calls were not returned.
Typically the company’s slicing campaign at its five factory districts lasts until the middle of May and, less frequently, until June. About 3,000 farmers in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota grow sugar beets for American Crystal, which is based in Moorhead.
American Crystal factories in the North Dakota towns of Hillsboro and Drayton and the Minnesota cities of East Grand Forks, Crookston and Moorhead operate 24 hours a day during the slicing campaign, producing 150 pounds of beet sugar per second, according to the company website. Each processing season’s total sugar production is about 3 billion pounds. The company also produces about 800,000 tons of other agricultural products during its annual sugar campaign.
The Hillsboro factory slices 2.5 million tons of sugar beets annually during an average annual slice campaign of 260 to 275 days. The factory, on average, produces 8.5 million hundred-pound bags of sugar annually, the website said.
Meanwhile, the Hillsboro factory, built in 1973, employs 225 workers year-round and another 55 during the sugar beet campaign, according to the website.
In 2019, it was clear by November that slicing the beets would not take as long as it does most years. From the onset of the 2019 harvest, wet, muddy conditions hampered farmers’ harvest efforts. In early November, American Crystal told farmers to stop harvesting sugar beets because they had been damaged by unseasonably cold temperatures that left the crop unsuitable for storage.
About one-third of the cooperative’s acres – 115,000 acres – were left in the field in 2019. A good share of that acreage was in the fields of farmers who deliver their beets to the Hillsboro and East Grand Forks factory districts.
Farmers who grow sugar beets for American Crystal Sugar harvested a total of 7.7 million tons in 2019, 36% less than the 11 million tons they harvested in 2018.
As a result of the reduction in the amount of sugar beets harvested this fall, farmers will be paid $37 per ton for the 2019 crop, $17.78 per ton less they were for the 2018 crop. Meanwhile, the company will subtract $3 in “unit retains” which are withheld as an equity contribution from members and historically repaid after seven years, according to a December 2019 story by Mikkel Pates, an Agweek reporter. Agweek and the Grand Forks Herald are owned by Forum Communications.
Besides the lower 2019 payment, farmers who were unable to harvest their sugar beets are required by American Crystal to pay it back at $343 for each unharvested acre.
https://ift.tt/39PDu56 Sugar Beet News |
via Grand Forks Herald https://ift.tt/2zM6KZc
February 21, 2020 at 03:11PM