American Crystal: Weather & Shipping Hurt Growers 2014 Payment

Dec 5, 2014

The President and C-E-O of American Crystal Sugar says the 2014 sugar beet payment for growers will be what he calls

“a miserable 37-dollars-per ton.” Dave Berg says at that price he is expecting to see some growers lose money on this year’s crop. Berg says this year’s crop was challenged from the beginning…

“…The sugar beet normally has about a five month life-span before we pull it out of the ground. These had a three or three and a half month life-span. They just didn’t get a good running chance to have a good long life and so therefore the crop wasn’t that good. With a normal spring next year, I think that we automatically take a step up in terms of the crop size and the sugar content. So that’s certainly a place where we can improve.”

Berg says another area for improvement is the transporting of the finished product to the cooperative’s  customers…

“…We rely on the Burlington Northern - Santa Fe more than any other sugar company in the United States. So that puts us in a worse spot with our customers than any other major shipper of sugar. Others are feeling it, but the B-N-S-F is ground zero for shipment problems for sugar producers. And so we’ve suffered from it more than anyone else.”

Berg says they have been able to make use of trucks to deliver some product, but he says the irregular railcar service has required some “grace” by American Crystal Sugar customers.