STAFF BLOG AG RIGHT 'Super-busy' harvest
Early October has brought beautiful weather (so far) to the Upper Midwest, and area farmers are taking advantage. The harvest of remaining crops -- mainly soybeans, corn, sugar beets, potatoes and sun... Posted on 10/2/12 at 10:12 AM
The first beet-to-ethanol pilot plant in the nation recently was announced for construction in California. Meanwhile, North Dakota researchers are moving forward on studies to determine if a similar idea will be feasible there.
With 89 percent of its planted acres safely harvested and piled, American Crystal Sugar Co. on Thursday implemented a new “frost quota,” allowing at least a small percentage of frost-damaged beets in the far north to be brought in.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture statement issued Friday marked another step that could fully deregulate Roundup Ready sugar beets, potentially allowing farmers to plant the genetically modified seeds without restriction.
Sugar beet processing season is coming to a close in the Red River Valley, even as the planting season is revving up. Jeff Schweitzer, spokesman for American Crystal Sugar Co. in Moorhead, Minn., said most of the factories are down to processing beets in cold storage sheds. In some cases, the remaining beet storages are equipped with chilling mat covers, with large refrigeration units that can be employed if necessary.
In a lawsuit that goes before a Los Angeles federal judge today, sugar producers accuse their corn industry rivals of false advertising in a campaign that casts the liquid sweetener as “nutritionally the same as table sugar” and claims “your body can’t tell the difference.”
Plant, under new ownership, would turn sugar beets into fuel as early as fall Energae LP, an energy investment group based in Clear Lake, Iowa, has signed a purchase agreement to buy the mothballed Grafton facility from Northeast Energy LLC, according to Jerry Krause, a general partner in Energae. The company expects to launch a search for North Dakota investors within the next couple of weeks, he said.
Of note 100 years ago was the statement of G.L. Holten, Grand Forks, that he believed growing sugar beets would be a solution for unemployment in the winter time.
Holten came from Wisconsin, where farmers were raising sugar beets, and he could see no good reason to prevent raising the crop in the Red River Valley.
With farmers filling political coffers, supports and tariffs help growers reap profits Across this stretch of the Red River Valley, roughly 20 miles east of Grand Forks, sugar beets have become an almost-can’t-miss money maker because of federal price protections that go back decades.
Jim Spencer, Mike Hughlett and Jeremy Herb
, January 31, 2012
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