SMBSC will continue to make meaningful and industry-leading progress in protecting the environment while creating a sustainable food supply.

Sugar co-op prepares for stricter rules

by Tom Cherveny Today at 12:16 a.m.

OLIVIA – Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative is aiming to remain in compliance with environmental regulations it anticipates will become more stringent in the years ahead.

“We’ll watch it real close and keep an eye on the ball,” Gary Hamlin, vice president of operations for the cooperative, told the Renville County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

Read about our updated to the Renville County Commissioners on West Central Tribune’s website.

Pesticides are chemicals that serve a significant purpose on agricultural land.  Unfortunately, these pesticides may impose negative health factors to the person working with them or people near where they are being applied.  Pesticides should not be singled out as the only chemicals that may cause health issues; some every day cleaning or automotive chemicals may also affect us.  The attached article “Chemical Safety on the Farm” touches several aspects which will help keep you, your family, employees, and others safe from the negative affects chemicals may pose.  Click here to read the article.

A 388-page report, the result of two years of research by 50 scientists has found that genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified organisms (GMO) are safe to eat and pose no health risks. The study specifically refers to cotton, soybeans, corn, sugar beets and canola.

The final sentence of the article wraps it perfectly: “It’s an emotional issue, it’s not a science issue.”

Read on for an excerpt of the article or read the full article on USA Today.

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Weekend frost nips some farm fields
By Carolyn Lange Today at 6:30 p.m.

WILLMAR—Two days of early morning frost over the weekend in west central Minnesota may cause problems for early planted crops.

Reports of damage vary in the region—and it will take another day or two to determine what the true impact will be—but so far it looks like most crops escaped serious harm.

Some crops, however, may have to be replanted.

“The moral of the story is we really need to give it a few days and see how crops responds to warmer weather,” said Kevin Beekman, director of the Farm Service Agency in Renville and Redwood counties. “We really won’t know for a few days.”

Crop consultants and insurance agents were busy doing field assessments Monday.

Jared Anez, from Anez Consulting in Willmar, said he saw some crop damage “everywhere” in southern Kandiyohi County and Renville County.

During a telephone interview while he was evaluating a corn field south of Danube, Anez said he saw plants that were “brown and mushy” next to some that had just light frost damage on leaves and some that had no damage at all.

So far, he had not seen corn plants killed by the frost.

“You can see the damage, but it’s too early to tell if we have to replant or not,” he said.

“In a couple days we’ll know how many plants will survive the stress of growing new leaf tissue,” Anez said. “If you can get it to survive, you really shouldn’t have any crop loss.”

Young sugar beet plants are typically sensitive to frost, but Kelvin Thompsen, president and CEO of the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in Renville, said it appears sugar beet farmers “dodged a bullet” this time with minimal damage.

Read the full article on West Central Tribune’s website.

Media Contact:
Stacy Bettison
612.807.6337

As one of the largest employers and contributors to the economy of southwestern Minnesota, we take our responsibilities to the region and state very seriously.

We are pleased to resolve matters with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency, most of which arose from unprecedented rainfall and flooding during the 2009-2010 harvest. The extreme weather increased water flowing into our ponds and caused challenges in SMBSC’s ability to treat and discharge wastewater. In turn, we made the strategic decision to hold the excess water instead of discharging it untreated into the environment, which caused water to surpass permitted levels in our water storage ponds. This decision was intended to, and did, in fact, protect water quality—the outcome SMBSC cares about most.

Over the past many years, we have worked diligently to find solutions that address all the agencies’ concerns. We have invested millions of dollars in facility improvements, developed new contingency plans, and deployed the best technologies available. We will continue to make meaningful and industry-leading progress in protecting the environment while creating a sustainable food supply.

Our growers are resolute in finding long-term, impactful solutions for the good of our natural resources and our community. And our cooperative will continue to do so – not only because our growers’ livelihoods depend on it, but because protecting the environment and investing in our communities is the right thing to do.

Thoughtful, well-articulated article about how VT law requiring special labeling and other state-specific labeling laws will have significant impact on food production, food access, price of food and farmer livelihood.

Minnesota farmers need Minnesota’s senators to act

By Karolyn Zurn Today at 5:00 a.m.

CALLAWAY, Minn.—Unless the U.S. Senate takes immediate action, Minnesota farmers stand to be seriously hurt within two months by a Vermont law requiring special labels for products made with genetically modified ingredients.

Over the past two decades, these crops have been grown more efficiently and affordably thanks to the use of genetically modified organisms.

The genetic traits contained in GMOs let farmers grow more crops while using less water, less land and fewer pesticides. This helps reduce costs for farmers and consumers.

Roughly 93 percent of our state’s corn, 94 percent of our soybeans and 95 percent of our sugar beets are now GMO.

The safety of GMOs is well-established in the scientific community. They have been part of our nation’s food supply for more than 20 years without incident.

Every major scientific and health organization that has examined GMOs has concluded they are as safe as any other food.

Despite the great benefits of GMOs, small numbers of activists are fighting to impose new state laws that would require special labels for food produced with this technology. They succeeded in Vermont, where a GMO-Iabeling law will go into effect in July.

Read more on the Grand Forks Herald.

Minnesota sugar beet growing season off to great start

Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative vice president Todd Geselius says planting began around the 11th of April.

“That is quite early for us.  With the equipment that everybody has nowadays, planting goes extremely rapidly, so we basically planted our entire crop in about 10 days.”

He tells Brownfield rain the past two weeks has been beneficial and stands look good.

The focus now is on weed control.

Read the full article on Browfield Ag News website.

SMBSC proudly sponsored the inaugural Redwoods Falls Career Expo. The event focused on introducing students from Redwood Falls, Wabasso, Sleepy Eye, and St. James to careers in a variety of industries including: agriculture, manufacturing, technology, business administration, health services, and more.

Each student had the opportunity to ask local business representatives questions about career paths, education, compensation, and real world expectations.  In addition to this, workshops were held focusing on financial aid, resume building, and interviewing skills.  During their lunch break, students listened to St. Cloud State University graduate C. Willie Mays talk about careers.

Read more on the Redwood Falls Gazette website.

ATV Safety

ATVs are generally used in many facets around the community.  Whether it is for recreation or work use, many will see and use them in  their endeavors through the seasons.  Unfortunately as useful and fun as ATVs can be, they present additional hazards to those who use them.  The Agri-Business council of Oregon partnered with SAIF Corporation to create an ATV safety video. Please view the video.  For state regulations and laws related to ATVs, please access the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website for further information.

Renville, MN – April 1, 2016. Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (SMBSC), a shareholder-owned producer of refined sugar and sugar products, announced today it has elected Steven J. Domm to be the next President of SMBSC.

Nearly two (2) years ago Kelvin Thompsen, SMBSC’s current President and Chief Executive Officer, announced his plan to transition out of these roles by Fall of 2016. Upon receiving this notice, SMBSC began an executive search to fill these roles. Domm will assume his position as President in June and that of CEO upon Thompsen’s departure later this summer.

A native of Wahpeton, North Dakota, Domm grew up on a small grain and sugar beet farm. He earned a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University. Domm brings deep executive leadership experience in the agriculture, and his many achievements reveal strong aptitudes in all aspects of agribusiness, from strategic business growth to maximizing returns for growers.

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