Red River Valley sugar beet growers report strong harvest despite drought

Image by: American Crystal Sugar Company
Image by: American Crystal Sugar Company

(Moorhead, MN) -- Sugar beet growers in the Red River Valley produced a strong harvest this year despite dealing with drought conditions for most of their growing season.

"The year started out very dry.  You know the positive of the spring because it was dry we were able to get to the fields early.  An early start with the sugar beet crop is always important," said Brian Ingulsrud, the Vice President of Agriculture at Moorhead-based American Crystal Sugar Company.  The company is a sugar beet growers cooperative. 

Ingulsrud says this year's crop was the third largest in the cooperative's history.   Their growers harvested 11.8 million tons of sugar beets.  That compares to 10.1 million tons in 2020, and is well above 2019's total of 7.5 million tons.  The sugar beet industry generates an annual economic impact of roughly $2 billion dollars a year.  

Farmers in the cooperative grow their crops on about 600 thousand acres across North Dakota and Minnesota.