Despite union lockout, beet harvest continues

Published 10:08 am Thursday, October 18, 2012

By Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio

MOORHEAD — Sugar beet farmers in the Red River Valley are busy harvesting a bumper crop this fall, the second harvest since American Crystal Sugar locked 1,300 union workers out of its five factories in a labor dispute.

Unions hope a national consumer boycott against Crystal Sugar will pressure the company to settle, but the beet farmers who own the American Crystal Sugar cooperative are not feeling that pressure.

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For farmers like David Kragnes, the big push is to load beets from fertile fields into trucks. Sugar beets are the most consistently profitable crop Kragnes raises, and when he hears the thump of beets hitting the metal truck box, for him it’s the sound of money.

Kragness is bullish on the future of the sugar industry and he expects sugar beets to be a profitable crop far into the future, Minnesota Public Radio reported.


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