From the race against winter in Minnesota to Louisiana’s muddy fields and uncertainty in hurricane-battered Florida, America’s sugar harvest season is in full swing.
This is the time of the year when sugarcane is cut and sugarbeets are lifted from the fields by massive, high-tech machines.
Trucks transport the plants to mills where they are turned into some of the most-affordable and highest-quality sugar on the planet in a round-the-clock operation that will employ people from across the country for weeks on end.
Farm Policy Facts, a coalition of farm organizations including the American Sugar Alliance, spoke with sugar farmers and, today, kicks off a three-part sugar harvest series.
“Harvest is kind of the heyday of the year for us,” says Minnesota farmer Brian Ryberg. “Everybody is always excited to get to harvest.”
But there’s also anxiety. Farmers like Ryberg are dealing with low prices and a struggling farm economy.
Florida farmers like Dennis Wedgworth and John Hundley are just now able to examine the true impact of Hurricane Irma.
And, in Louisiana, growers like Travis Madine, worry about attacks on U.S. sugar policy and what that might mean to Louisiana’s more than 200-year-old sugar heritage and the next generation of farmers.
Be sure to see the first installment of the Farm Policy Facts series today, and check back for the next two installments on Tuesday and Wednesday.