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Sugarbeet Growers Magazine April / May 2014 : Page 9

30 Years Ago 50 Years on Front Lines of Agriculture Give Horace Godfrey Right to Dean’s Title / By James Hughes – “Fifty years on the front lines of agriculture give Horace D. Godfrey an edge on Capitol Hill in Wash-ington, where he is known as the dean of sugar lobby-ists. “Horace has been involved in farm programs almost from their inception. He was barely 19, a farm boy from a large North Carolina family, when he went to work in the Raleigh office of USDA in 1934. By the time he left the Department 34 years later, he had worked his way up to national administrator of ASCS and executive vice president of the Commodity Credit Corporation. “Since then, he has carried the banner of the Florida and Texas sugarcane growers in Washing-ton. He is a principal architect of the current sugar program, and probably its leading advocate. It could not have a better friend. “Horace scores high on two things that count most in Washing-ton: who you know and what you know. A half century of experience has made him well known to practi-cally everyone connected with agricul-ture. It gives him almost instant access to key farm leaders in Congress, including North Dakota Senator Mark Andrews, Florida Senator Paula Hawkins, and Mississippi Congressman Jamie Whitten, to name just three. “Senator Andrews, a Red River Valley sugarbeet grower, calls him ‘Mr. Secre-tary,’ as in Secretary of Agriculture. Sena-tor Hawkins, who serves with Andrews on the Agriculture Committee, calls him ‘the Godfather of farm lobbyists.’ ” U.S. Sugar Market Divided 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 – By Robert Barry and Luigi Angelo / USDA Economic Re-search Service – “The United States is among the world’s largest sugar consumers. In calendar 1983, about two-thirds of the nearly 9 million tons of sugar, raw value, consumed in the United States came from domestic pro-duction. Nearly a third represented beet sugar and just over a third was cane sugar. The remainder was im-ported primarily as raw sugar with a small quantity of refined sugar. “However, sugar consumption has declined signifi-cantly since the mid-1970s when deliveries of high fruc-tose corn syrup (HFCS) began to displace sucrose in increasingly larger quantities. . . . “Since 1970, and particularly after 1975, major struc-tural changes have reduced the sugar industry’s pro-cessing capacity. The number of sugarbeet and sugarcane processing facilities in the United States has dropped substantially since 1976, largely because of re-Excerpts from the April & May 1984 Issues of The Sugarbeet Grower duced producer and processor net returns. Despite the reduction in processing facilities, sugarcane processing capacity has remained relatively stable while sugarbeet processing has declined significantly. . . . “The 58 sugarbeet factories operating in 1970 had a total daily slicing capacity of 193,000 tons. The 41 facto-ries operating in 1983 had a combined daily slicing ca-pacity of 166,000 tons, 14 percent less than the 1970 capacity, and 23 percent less than the peak 215,000-ton capacity of 1976. The change in the average daily slicing capacity from 3,385 tons in 1970 to 4,037 tons in 1983 in-dicates that closures have been largely confined to the smaller facilities. The 21 factories closed since 1970 had a total daily slicing capacity of 63,850 tons.” Editor’s Note: By way of compari-son, as of 2013 there were 22 active sugarbeet factories in the United States. Their combined daily slice ca-pacity totaled 159,670 tons, for an av-erage of 7,258 tons. The largest factory was that of Southern Min-nesota Beet Sugar Cooperative at a daily slice capacity of 17,500 tons; the smallest being the Lovell, Wyo., factory of Western Sugar Coopera-tive with a daily slice capacity of 3,000 tons. NDSU Research to Extend Beet Season Underway – “Re-search on extending the sugar-beet growing season is being conducted by researchers at North Dakota State University. ‘Re-search on transplanting sugarbeets and other planting methods that decrease germination time will be con-ducted,’ Earl Scholz, horticulturist at NDSU said. ‘Tech-nology out of Finland, China, England, Japan, Idaho and Nebraska is being pulled together in Fargo.’ “Successful research, especially in transplanting sug-arbeets, in the above locations has triggered interest in the Red River Valley because of the increased quantity and quality of sugarbeet yields obtained, according to Allan Cattanach, extension sugarbeet specialist at NDSU. “Plants grown in the greenhouse for five to six weeks prior to prior to transplanting will extend the growing season, be more resistant to seedling disease and frost, and more tolerant to pesticides, increasing the plant growth rate. Transplants can also utilize nitrogen more effectively, producing a higher quality beet, according to Scholz and Cattanach. “Increased quantity and quality of beets would in-crease income to farmers, but to be feasible must also cover additional costs of greenhouse facilities and ma-chinery for transplanting. Scholz estimates a need for 8,750 square feet of greenhouse space to raise trans-plants for 100 acres of beets, which is 3.0 million plants.” THE SUGARBEET GROWER April/May 2014 9

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