The Pacific Northwest Sugar Company will not offer growers contracts this year because of low sugar prices and high natural gas costs.
Many grower members that have produced sugarbeets are selling water and electricity to the Grant County Public Utility District and the Bonneville Power Administration this year. Some are earning up to $475 per acre.
The sugar company will lay off 30 to 35 year-round workers leaving about 70 full-time employees. The Grant County PUD will pay for electricity it doesn't use this year.
Pacific Northwest Sugar intends to resume sugarbeet operations next year. Growers have produced around 800,000 tons of beets on 20,000 to 30,000 acres during previous campaigns.