Chairwoman Stabenow Applauds USDA’s Deregulation of Sugar Beets

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to deregulate Roundup Ready sugar beets, noting the decision will provide the certainty farmers need to plant their 2011 crops and bolster Michigan’s thriving sugar beet industry. 

“Sugar beets are a major economic driver of Michigan’s agriculture industry,” Stabenow said. “Michigan is on the leading edge of national beet sugar production, and this decision comes at a crucial moment when farmers need certainty to efficiently plan their crops. America leads the world in crop production because we lead the world in efficiency and innovation. I appreciate that the USDA has made this decision based on sound science after a careful review. Going forward, we need to create more certainty for growers and fewer delays that hinder their ability to make decisions.”

Nearly 30,000 jobs in Michigan rely on a strong sweetener industry, and Michigan ranks fourth in beet sugar production. More than 850 farmers produce sugar beets on more than 136,000 acres in Michigan, representing 3.9 million tons of beets that are processed by four sugar beet processing facilities in Bay City, Caro, Croswell, and Sebewaing. Michigan sugar beet production was valued at more than $171 million in 2008.