We got an advisory that Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT) will be meeting with locals in Sidney, Montana on Wednesday night for a roundtable discussion with local leaders and members of the community. This, after the Minnesota-based American Crystal Sugar Company announced that they would be shutting down the Sidney Sugars sugar beet factory this Spring.

I'm glad the governor is making the trip, especially as we have seen previous governors virtually ignore Eastern Montana. Plus, this closure is a major hit not only to Sidney, Montana and the ag community- it's a big loss for the whole state.

Just last week, I caught up with Jeff Bieber, the President of the Montana-Dakota Beet Growers Association at the Glendive Agri Trade Expo (GATE). Here's one of the questions I asked him.

Even if local farmers were able to form a co-op and buy the factory, could they even sell the sugar?

Jeff Bieber: That would be our second concern after the investment needed to bring Sidney back online would be the allotment process. The allotment system was a great procedure when they put it in place back in the day. And it was supposed to be a control on the United States sugar production, and what could be sold in the United States. Since then, it's unfortunately become an asset attached to a factory that is actually worth more than the factory itself. Because if you can't sell the sugar, the factory is meaningless. And that's a real issue moving forward. And that was a political issue that kind of forced the squeezing of Sidney Montana.

The full audio with Jeff starts halfway through the below podcast:


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