Michigan Sugar Co. Given More Time

Published online: Feb 26, 2007 SP Staff
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Michigan Sugar Co. has been given more time to pay back a $5-million state loan. The Michigan Senate unanimously passed legislation extending the time of repayment on the 2002 loan from five to 10 years. A final $3 million payment on the loan had been due Feb. 1. The move allows the cooperative owned by about 1,300 growers to instead make immediate capital investments in new ventilation equipment and other technology. Senator Jim Barcia says this will help avoid the sugar beet crop spoilage that cost the company and its grower-owners $30 million in 2005. Barcia, who sponsored legislation in 2004 to allow the merger of Michigan Sugar and Monitor Sugar Co., says he believes the loan repayment delay will pay dividends to both the agricultural industry and the state. "By extending out these payments until 2012, Michigan Sugar can take critical steps towards avoiding the kinds of losses that not only hurt farmer's bottom lines but negatively impact tax revenue to the state,' he said. 'This bill also demonstrates the kinds of partnerships with the agricultural industry that we will need to aggressively pursue as we continue to transition our economy.' The legislation now goes to the house and once passed there Michigan Sugar will continue to make quarterly payments of about $150,000 until the loan is paid back in 2012.