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Sugarbeet Growers Magazine March 2014 : Page 10

Introducing John Snyder ASGA’s New President Today, they farm about 2,600 irrigated acres of sugarbeets, malt barley and corn. Son Steven “has joined our farming operation and is the reason that I can spend this much time working on sugar issues,” John noted. Formerly president of the Washakie Beet Growers Association, Snyder currently serves as a member of the Wyoming Sugar Company Board of Managers. aith, family, farm and sugar are my priorities,” John “ F Snyder affirmed to the ASGA Tampa audience. T hough already known by many in the audience, the new president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Associa-tion, John Snyder of Worland, Wyo., formally introduced him-self to the group as he took over the reins from Minnesota’s Kelly Erickson at the conclusion of the 2014 annual meeting. Snyder was born and raised on a small farm near Wor-land established by his great-grandfather in 1914. Dairy, beef cattle, sugarbeets, small grains and alfalfa were staples in the north central Wyoming farming operation. Like most farm kids of that era, his childhood was shaped by work. “One thing instilled in me was a very strong work ethic,” Snyder noted. “The other thing that I developed was a very, very strong dislike for the dairy side of the business!” nity of purpose has been the bedrock of success for the His desire to put plenty of distance between himself and domestic sugar industry, and we will continue that the cows led Snyder to the University of Wyoming, where he unity within the beet sugar industry, with our cane industry earned a bachelor’s degree in ag economics (farm and ranch [colleagues], with other commodity and farm organizations — management). He moved to the Rio Grande Valley of south-and often our allies, who are also our foreign suppliers,” ern Texas, where he worked as a quality control manager for ASGA’s president declared. “We fundamentally understand a produce farm. That was followed by a relocation to Here-ford, in the Texas Panhandle, and employment as a truck dis-that in unity there is strength; and we are strong as long as each unit in our organization functions with precision. patcher and produce salesman. “Our job is not to let things happen, or to watch things Wyoming’s lure drew him back, though, as did his high happen — but to make things happen. Focus and persistence school sweetheart, Janet. They married in 1979, and John are essential to what we do. It is, in fact, what we have done joined Janet’s parents and brother in their farm operation, and will continue to do.” Sage Creek Land & Cattle Co. “My dad had sold most of his In closing, John Snyder called upon his farm [by then] because of worn-out knees, fellow sugarbeet growers to support their shoulders and back — not to mention my ear-‘Our job is not to leadership. “Get 100% participation in your lier announcement convincing him I did not let things happen local political action committee,” he encour-want to farm,” Snyder recounted. aged. “Thank your elected leaders for their The young couple jumped into life in or to watch things hard work and vigilance. The investment of Washakie County “with both feet,” starting a happen — but to time and effort that each of us makes today is family (sons Jason and Steven), expanding make things happen.’ essential to preserving the future of this in-the farm — and buying a small dress shop in dustry for generations to come.” O Worland, still known as Janet’s Boutique. “Friends are in there, too, but they come from the four priori-ties because there are good people to be found there.” Noting that his ancestors and, likewise, those of Janet helped build and develop the sugar industry in the Worland area, “we, like you, want to make sure it is strong for future generations,” Snyder stated. He recounted several personal sugar-related experiences that have helped mold and cement that commitment: • “When I sat on the witness stand in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, as the lone grower defendant testifying for Roundup Ready ® Sugarbeets, staring down a legal team that wants to deny us our tools — and receiving the cold, icy stares of court clerks who appear to resent modern agricul-ture advances — you get tough, and you get strong. • “When I walked in the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow (in 2013) and met face-to-face with the producer-leaders of the largest beet sugar industry in the world — who look to us for leadership and guidance on biotechnology — you come to appreciate our important role in the interna-tional sugar industry. • “When I faced those in the sugar trade and customers in the heart of New York City and began a dialogue of what it takes to do what we do and the cost of doing it to meet their needs, you begin to open the eyes of those who see the sugar world differently. • “When I work closely with our congressional delegation year-in and year-out and stand up for them and defend them, they go the extra mile for you. When you walk mile after mile of congressional hallways, giving staff and members a first-hand understanding of industry and policy, you learn to teach and sell. • “And it’s when you come to the rescue of a neighbor, at night in the rain, mud and snow of early November, to help get the crop in. That’s what farmers do. That’s what beet growers do.” Photo: Don Lilleboe “ U 10 THE SUGARBEET GROWER March 2014

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