Growing up, fourth-generation farmer Makelle Pinsonat rode in the tractor alongside her parents in the sugarcane fields of Louisiana. Now, Makelle is raising her own family on the farm.
“It’s in your blood. It’s in your heart,” Makelle says. “It’s a privilege to be able to say, ‘I’m a United States sugarcane farmer.’”
Across the country, Montana farmer Ervin Schlemmer is a fourth-generation sugarbeet farmer who cherishes the time spent working as a family.
“It’s something that puts a good feeling right here in my heart to know that’s what we are all about,” Ervin says.
Makelle and Ervin are two of the 11,000 farmers and farm families who grow sugarcane and sugarbeets across the country and whose stories are featured on the brand-new website: SugarAlliance.org. Those farmers – many of them multi-generational farmers, whose families have been farming the same land for more than 100 years – produce about nine million tons of sugar a year on two million acres.
Those crops are then made into high-quality sugar by America’s skilled sugar workers and efficiently distributed to consumers and food manufacturers across the country. In total, America’s sugar industry supports 142,000 jobs and adds $20 billion to the U.S. economy while keeping America supplied with an essential ingredient. And sugar production is increasingly sustainable – with current U.S. production up 16 percent over the past 20 years while using 11 percent less land.
It’s incredible to see the coast-to-coast reach of America’s sugar producers.
None of this would be possible without America’s no-cost sugar policy. This policy supports America’s family farmers like Makelle and Ervin and gives them the stability to efficiently meet our nation’s sugar needs.