Alberta Sugar Beet Growers have signed a two-year contract extension with their processor, Lantic Sugar Inc., which they expect will provide stability through to the 2020 growing season.
The current contract allows for 28,000 acres of sugar beets to be planted in 2018 and a minimum of 21,000 acres for 2019 and 2020.
In a news release, the ASBG said the contract extension also includes a commitment on both sides to develop a “long-standing rolling contract” by Dec. 31, 2020, to ensure continued stability for southern Alberta growers.
Contract negotiations in the past have been rocky on occasion, sometimes resulting in Lantic threats to close the only sugar beet processing plant in Canada located in Taber, Alta., as well as grower refusal to accept Lantic’s offered acreage and pricing.
“We are pleased to be able to offer our growers, processor, and all of the stakeholders impacted by the sugar beet industry the stability and sustainability that they have been asking for with the completion of this contract extension,” said ASBG president Arnie Bergen-Henengouwen, in a news release.
“We wanted to have an extension in place so that investment in the industry can occur from both our processor and our growers.”
Andrew Llewelyn-Jones, Taber operations manager for Lantic Inc., echoed the point.
“In this current business climate, it is imperative that we have the ability to sell our product in advance so that we can strategically plan for investment into the plant,” he said.
“This contract extension provides us with the certainty we need to move forward.”
Sugar beet growers and the Taber sugar factory produce more than 100,000 tonnes of sugar annually, which is sold domestically and internationally. Products include refined sugar, molasses, icing sugar and livestock feed.
The new contract agreement was finalized April 16 and officially announced April 20.