Multiple Sources: Sidney Sugars Closing in Eastern Montana
*Update now includes press release from American Crystal Sugar Company below, the Western Ag Network also has a full response from the Montana-Dakota Beet Growers Association you can find here.
I've had a couple sources telling me this could be in the works for weeks now. Looks like this is unfortunately now becoming a reality. According to a letter from Sidney Sugars, the sugar beet factory will be shutting down in April.
Here's an excerpt from the letter:
Due to a continued insufficient supply of sugar beets from local area growers, it has become financially unsustainable to continue operating the Sidney Sugars beet processing plant. This is a letter to provide you with 60 days advance notice to inform you that the Sidney Sugars plant will be closing operations beginning on April 14, 2023.
KFGO Radio also has a story published on Monday quoting Steve Rosenau, American Crystal Sugar Company Vice President of Agriculture and Chief Operating Officer of Sidney Sugars, Inc. (KFYR has a story now also)
The factory has typically employed a total of 300 employees. “Employees will receive severance packages and we have provided a number of resources to assist them with job searches, including offering opportunities to join other American Crystal factories in the Red River Valley,” said Rosenau.
Calls have been placed to both Sidney Sugars in Sidney, Montana as well as a message left with a spokeswoman for American Crystal Sugar Company in Moorhead, Minnesota.
*Update: Shortly after publishing this article we received the following press release from American Crystal Sugar Company:
This is yet another big hit for our friends in Sidney and the surrounding area. As one friend in the Sidney area put it:
MDU plant, coal mine, and now what I always knew as Holly Sugar. Mix in the war on American oil and things look bleak.
Another source who works in the sugar beet farming industry told me that the issue has come down to ongoing negotiations between American Crystal Sugar and local farmers who feel they aren't being compensated enough for the sugar beets they grow. Some locals also complain that the company hasn't sufficiently invested in plant infrastructure over the years.
Here's the letter that was sent to me by a source in Eastern Montana:
Here's a video from 2014 showing the sugar beet harvest near Sidney, Montana:
LOOK: Food history from the year you were born