Sugar beet growers continue to meet consumer needs
The American Sugarbeet Growers Association (ASGA) says the 2021 harvest has been great and harvesting has gone much smoother compared to recent weather challenges.
ASGA Vice President and General Counsel Scott Herndon said it felt good to be back to normal.
“Last year’s crop was excellent,” Herndon said. “It’s good to be back to normal. In 2019 we had a disaster in our growth region, so it’s good to have things as usual. So, we’re very happy about that. “
He says biotechnology has revolutionized the way farmers grow sugar for consumers.
“Absolutely,” Herndon said. “The sugar beet industry has been a leader in the adoption of biotechnology, and we are very proud of that and we have been able to derive many sustainability benefits from the use of biotechnology. And we have Exciting news that Bayer KWS is working in conjunction in a partnership to develop a multi-herbicide tolerant trait that will have tolerances to glyphosate, glufonsinate and dicamba that they hope to be ready by mid-decade The FDA will be useful to deregulate that. It has to go through the coordinated framework, which is the USDA, FDA, and EPA. But we’re excited about that, and we’re also excited about the future of biotech in the concept of l gene editing, because we think that has a lot of potential benefits as well, so that breeders could grow plants that have disease resistance much faster than than they could with a GMO trait. So lots of exciting potential on the horizon.
Sustainability is also very important to the US sugar industry and its growers.
“I’m very proud that our industry has also been at the forefront of sustainability measures in DC from a policy perspective,” Herndon said. “We have helped lead discussions on voluntary incentive-based sustainability measures with allies in agriculture. We’ve built some really good alliances with our colleagues in the environmental community and other stakeholders, and we think we’re going to be successful on that.
Despite rising input costs, he says American sugar beet growers continue to provide consumers with an abundant and affordable supply of sugar.
“Our industry is not unique in that we face increases in input costs due to supply chain issues,” Herndon said. “But rest assured consumers won’t see a shortage of sugar and that’s something we’ve been able to highlight, you know, throughout the COVID pandemic. We’ve been able to easily move from wholesale to detail, you know, as the demand shifted and was really able to demonstrate the success of the sugar policy that our industry was nimble and we were able to respond very quickly to those pressures.”
Source: Agricultural Information Network and Western Agricultural Network