American Crystal Sugar Company Holds Its Annual Meeting To Look Back At This Year’s Crops

Farmers gathered to talk about how the results have impacted the business.

FARGO, N.D.- “The worst conditions that we’ve encountered in our family’s history with sugar beets which takes us back to the 60’s.”

This is how Beau Bateman describes the farming crisis.

He is a farmer and shareholder at Crystal Sugar.

Beau was not able to recover more than 20 percent of what he had in the ground.

“Well, the company as a whole had about the same number of acres planted, but we were only able to recover about two thirds of them last year vs this year. Our farm was a little bit worse. We were less able to, well we actually weren’t able to recover more than 20 percent of what we had in the ground due to real heavy rainfall in our township,” he says.

Farmers were faced to make some tough decisions this year.

“The deterioration of the product itself, we’ve had to make decisions that we’ve never had to do before where this product will store any amount of time or it will just deteriorate. Should we bring it in or should we just leave it in the field, because we need the sugar to make our company and our processing run efficiently and to pay our bills, but if it doesn’t work to process this stuff with all the mud that we had on it and all the tissue that was deteriorating because of the frost all those components are inactive moving targets as weather always is,” he says.

Harvest ended in early November and about one-third of Crystal Sugar crops were stranded due to the harsh weather conditions.

Crystal Sugar says it’s important to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly and how to come out together stronger.

“I always say we’re a family owned business, we’re owned by all these family farms up and down the Red River Valley and it’s important for us to get together to mark the end of a year. Successes, the failures, the trials and tribulations and I think it’s just part of what makes us strong as a business as we get together, we talk about the business and talk not only about the past but also the future,” says Tom Astrup, the President of American Crystal Sugar Company

Unfavorable harvest weather conditions resulted in the loss of 118-thousand acres of sugar beets, far excedding tany previous total in the history of the business.

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