Monday, June 17, 2013

Othello: Sugar Beet Farming

My Dad said that the best (most profitable) crop to raise in Othello was sugar beets.  However, the amount you could grow was heavily controlled by the government, so it was not possible to just raise beats. There was a big push in 1962 in Othello to secure more acreage for beets, even hopes of a sugar factory near Othello.  A commission from Othello and the state went to Washington to testify.  The Chamber of Commerce sponsored a writing campaign.  For a second they thought they would have some result, but when contracts were issued there was no change.  Dad was always frustrated by the government control of the raising of beets.  These notes are from the Othello Outlook 1962.
Jan 25: Beet Association needs Support For More Acreage
Possibility of a new sugar refinery near Othello was discussed at a special meeting of the Columbia Basin Sugar Beet Development Association January 16 at the People Bank Office.  A publicity committee was appointed…
U and I Sugar is reported to have purchased land for a plant 12 miles south of Othello, just north of Basin City.  The company is now surveying the land for a plant.  The existence of this plant will depend on the increase of sugar beet acreage in the Columbia Basin.  At the present time the Moses Lake refinery is near capacity.
The association has set three goals according to Roy Deming, secretary.  First they will be very active in supporting a revised five year extension of the Sugar Act.  Second, they will promote a new sugar refinery in this area.  Also they will attempt to sign up 100 growers, and estimated 3,000 acres, with the association.
Additional acreage for the Columbia Basin, which would be the largest asset towards the establishment of a plant near Othello is entirely up to the legislature, according to Deming.  The association has requested the help of the Basin Town’s chambers and have been accepted by Othello, Connell, Pasco and Warden.
Jan. 25:  Need Help on Beet Development
Another industry is knocking on Othello’s door and the promoters need your help in opening that door.  We are speaking of the Sugar Refinery that may locate South of Othello.
Help is needed in getting the word to our legislators in Washington that the Basin needs the Sugar Act extended and improved and we need more beet acreage.
The development of a refinery here depends on an increase in acreage as the Moses Lake plan is near or at capacity. 
Also more acreage would help the individual farmers.  It costs so much to break in the raising of beets that a farmer can’t come out on just a few acres.  More acres are needed per farmer so that he can make it a paying crop.
Make your wishes known to the legislators, asking them for their help in this matter.  Sugar beet development will strengthen the Basin’s agricultural industry.
Feb. 1:  Chamber Joins Beet Growers For More Acreage
The Board of Directors, Othello Chamber of Commerce joins with the Chamber of Commerce members in endorsing the aims of the Columbia Basin Beet Growers Association who are working hard towards getting the Sugar Act extended and getting more beet acreage for the Columbia Basin farmers, Carl Hansen, the Chamber’s Secretary reported today.
The Board went on record at the last meeting to aid the Beet Association both workwise, and financially, Hansen concluded.
May 3: Allotments Are Stepped Up
More good news for sugar beet producers in the Columbia basin came from U.S. Department of Agriculture officials recently, in the form of an increase in sugar allotments.
May 17: Othello Represented in Washington, D.C.: Arguments for Sugar Ammendments
The statement from governor Rossellini of Olympia, Washington will be presented to the House Committee on Agriculture today, May 19, 1962 in Washington D.C.  Harley Dirks, local businessman, will read the governor’s message as follows:  STATEMENT OF GOVERNOR ALBERT D. ROSELLINI OF WASHINGTON, IN SUPPORT OF AMENDMENTS TO THE SUGAR ACT, BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, MAY 17, 1962.
Mr. Chairman:
I appreciate this opportunity to present this statement to the committee, concerning needed amendment to the Sugar Act, to provide for expansion of domestic sugar beet production.
AS you know, Mr. Chairman, the principal areas for new expansion of beet acreage in Washington State lie in the developing Columbia Basin Project.
In 1960, under terms of existing acreage restrictions, some 14,200 acres were planted to sugar beets in the Columbia Basin Project.
When acreage quotas were withdrawn for the 1961 crop, the total acreage increased to 27,300, almost an 100 per cent gain.
Sugar plant facilities were available to process this greatly increased production and the Columbia Basin made a major contribution to the nation’s need for sugar. 
It seems clear to me that the public interest would best be served with a extension of the Sugar Act for at least five years.  Such a program would permit the industry to make long-range plans for locating new plants in Washington and the Columbia Basin.
In addition the act should be amended to provide orderly expansion of production for such new reclamation areas, so that growers can acquire acreage to meet the increasing demand for sugar.  The success of such reclamation projects as the Columbia Basin will depend to a large measure on this availability of sugar beet acreage.
Specifically, it is my hope that the committee gives favorable consideration to the following proposals.
Extension of the acreage  for at least five years.
2. Establishment of basic quotas for domestic areas on a consumption level estimate of 9.7 million tons.
3. Division of the annual increase in consumption at 67 ½ per cent to domestic continental areas and 37 ½ per cent to foreign areas, the 67 ½ per cent to be shared 75 per cent by the beet sugar area and 25 per cent by the mainland cane sugar area.
Thank you very much.
July 26:  Sugar Act Signed July 13
New sugar allotments coming on the heels of the new Sugar Act, (signed into law July 13 by President Kennedy) will increase the chances for Columbia Basin Beet Sugar growers to plant more sugar beets. 
According to Al Pederson, vice-president of the Washington Sugar Beet Growers Associaltion, “The U&I Sugar Beet plant at Moses Lake is bringing in new machinery to increase the capacity of the plant from 4,500 tons in 24 hours in 1961 to 6,000 tons in 24 hours starting this year.” 
The new machinery will increase the amount of finished product from the plant.  A new Beet and Pulp Dryer is going in, along with new machinery throughout the plant.  “This means, of course,” says Mr. Pederson, “that the U&I plant can handle the increased loads of beets coming from increased acreage in the Basin.”
The new Sugar Act will continue in effect until December 31, 1966, with increases in acreage allotments each year.  These increases are possible because of an anticipated increase in the consumption of sugar due to an increase in population.
Domestic Sugar producers got 55% of the quotas or allotments under the old act, but under the new one they’ll get 65%, which was more than expected.  The gains were made partly because Puerto Rico and Hawaii have not been filling their quotas for the past 4 or 5 years, so that portion has been added to the allotments for mainland beet and cane sugar producers.  Beet growers in the U.S. will get 75% of the 65% increase with cane growers receiving a 25% share.
This will mean, (in round figures) that Columbia Basin growers will get close to 10,000 additional tons as their share of the U.S. total by the time the new act expires.  “This means,” says Pederson, “our beet growers will get from 7,000 to 8,000 tons annually.”
AS for the possibility of a new plant in the Basin, Pederson says, “Sales and marketing increases will determine whether or not a new plant can be constructed.”
August 30:  Beet Acreage Restricted Next Year. 
On the basis of probable year-end supplies of beet sugar, the August 10 Crop Reporting board’s estimate of the 1962 sugar beet crop and probable marketing opportunities for the beet sugar area, this situation is not expected to prevail.
Sept 13:  Beet Harvest Begins Sept. 24
Paul Scalley, Toppenish manager and Charles Edwards Moses lake manager of the U&I Sugar Beet plants met with the board of directors and set September 24 as the beginning date of the 1962 sugar beet harvest. 
Field men of the Utah Idaho Sugar company will be in touch with the farmers of the area, advising them of the conditions of the harvest. 


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