A Little History

The International Sugarbeet Institute

Published in the May 2012 Issue Published online: May 13, 2012
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The International Sugarbeet Institute is held annually in March and is the largest exhibit of sugarbeet equipment and related products and services in the United States.

The event is held in Fargo and Grand Forks, N.D. on alternating years and features national agricultural leaders, legislators and sugar specialists.

The show began in 1963 in Crookston, Minn., as the specialized event and seminar of everything about sugarbeet production. It was specifically held during the winter for the Red River Valley and later became the two-day trade show and educational institute for all growers internationally. It became international in 1980, when Manitoba growers joined the force.

The show is filled with all things sugarbeet related. Those attending are met with interesting and entertaining displays, exhibits and trade-show personnel. The special speakers discuss subjects most interesting to the industry of the day.

This year there was nearly $4.5 million worth of products on display at the Alerus Center. Advancements in equipment and production methods have become consistently bigger and more sophisticated through the years.

However, if you want to see how sugarbeet production was handled long ago the one and only Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum in Crookston, Minn., had a nifty display complete with an old harvester. Videos and photos of long-ago farming bring to light the expanse of changes that have taken place from hand hoed and harvested to 24-row planters and 12-row harvesters.

It's quite impressive.

Nearly 4,000 people were expected to attend this event. Speaking to the interested crowd on March 14, Owen Wagner, Senior Economist, North America for LMC International, discussed the signs that U.S. sugar prices could be encouraging food companies and consumers to consider alternative sweeteners. However, Wagner doesn't believe U.S. sugar prices will drop significantly. The high sugar prices may be part of the optimistic outlook for the U.S. beet industry.

Another aspect of beet production in these modern times as compared to long-ago with the size of equipment is the costs that these monstrously big machines are tagged.

However, what has made producing sugarbeets more effective to the bottom line is the introduction of biotechnology.

So much has changed through the years but one thing remains constant. There is no better bunch of Americans than those who work the ground and produce a worthwhile, vital product in our food source.


CHS Booth. Todd Sommerfeld, Kyle Langen


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