USA: concern, confusion surround local beet industry

Sugar beet producers in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska face an uncertain future as a result of the announcement by Western Sugar Cooperative last fall that the January payment would not be made. The company has emphasized although the January payment will not be made, growers will receive more for their beets harvested in 2017.

However, the problem is greater than just the missing January payment. Western made only two of the four payments due for the 2016 crop.The condition of the beets still in piles at the company’s receiving stations in Colorado, Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming is holding up, according to Western’s Vice President of Agriculture, Jerry Darnell. Even with reported problems with equipment and processing at plants in Scottsbluff, Neb., and Fort Morgan, Colo., Darnell said Monday, Jan. 8, that processing at Scottsbluff of the abundant crop is expected to be completed by late February or early March.