By Mary Drier
Staff Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michigan’s sugar beet crop was so good it was even recognized in Washington, D.C.

Candice S. Miller, who represents Michigan’s 10th Congressional District, congratulated the grower-owners of Michigan Sugar Company who harvested the cooperative’s largest crop yield on record: a total 4.75 million tons of sugar beets, compared to 3.99 million last year.

Miller, who chairs the Subcommittee on Border & Maritime Security, is on the House Homeland Security Committee, and on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, congratulated the cooperative owners of Michigan Sugar Company on their record yield and hard work.

“Despite a late frost this spring and abnormally dry summer, Michigan sugar beet farmers harvested a record breaking 4.75 million tons of sugar beets with some of the biggest yields on record averaging 29.22 tons per acre,” said Miller in a press release. “Michigan’s Thumb is the state’s premier sugar beet producing area, accounting for over 100,000 acres of the 153,000 acres harvested in Michigan.

“This is great news to show that late nights and long hours put in by our Michigan farmers have paid off with a great sugar beet crop this year.  I congratulate them on their recent growing season and wish them the very best as they start to plan for the 2013 crop.”

The Sebewaing sugar factory was built in 1902. The factory in Caro was built in 1898, and is the oldest operating sugar beet factory in the country.

The Michigan Sugar Company was formed in 1906 when six independent, single factory, sugar beet companies merged. They operated successfully until the early 2000s when financial issues became a problem. Back then Michigan Sugar Company was owned by Imperial Sugar Company of Sugar Land, Texas, it was going through a bankruptcy when 1,000 growers stepped forward to purchase the company Feb. 12, 2002.

Two years later, Monitor Sugar Company in Bay City was also put up for sale. The co-operative of sugar growers bought that company to bring it into the sugar making fold.

Today, the co-operative has factories Bay City, Caro, Croswell, and Sebewaing the produce sugar under the brand names of Michigan Sugar, Pioneer Sugar and Big Chief Sugar.

Mary Drier is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at