MOORHEAD, MINN. - October 24, 2006 - Under American Crystal Sugar Company's Contingency Plan to Reduce Harvested Acres, on October 17 all shareholders were previously asked to reserve 8 percent of their acres for possible destruction. The company's board of directors met on Tuesday, October 24, 2006, and determined that the Contingency Plan to Reduce Harvested Acres will be final at the 8 percent level.
As soon as piling stations complete their harvest the company's agriculture staff will contact shareholders and begin the process of measurement and verification of the acres left in the field. This process should begin within the next few days in most areas and will likely take a week to complete. American Crystal is asking shareholders to not destroy acres until they have received written authorization from the company's agriculture staff.
American Crystal began with the potential to harvest 507,000 acres of sugarbeets. The cooperative recognized in August that the implementation of leaving beets in the field could become necessary as crop samples indicated the potential for a materially above average crop, which could exceed its processing capacity.
To facilitate processing as many tons as practical, the company began operating four factories on August 23, and another on August 29, several weeks earlier than normal, and plans to run them longer than normal to about May 31, 2007.
As of Tuesday morning, October 24, American Crystal's harvest was about 99 percent complete. Stockpile harvest has been stalled and started numerous times since it began September 30, due to heat, rain, and frost shut downs. Currently, the crop is predicted to yield about 25 tons per acre, which is well above American Crystal's historical five-year average of 19 tons per acre. Sugar content is estimated to exceed 18 percent, which is also above the company's historical five-year average of 17.8 percent.
American Crystal fully realizes that not harvesting the entire sugarbeet crop seems to be unthinkable particularly as other commodities in the multi-state region have been adversely affected by drought. However, the economics of the situation dictate it is more prudent to leave a portion of the sugarbeet crop in the field than to incur harvest and storage costs of those beets and then pay to discard them in the spring.
American Crystal Sugar Company is an agricultural cooperative owned by nearly 2,900 shareholder entities in the Red River Valley (northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota) involved in the growing and processing of sugarbeets. American Crystal employs about 1,700 full- and part-time employees and is the largest beet sugar producer in the United States. American Crystal operates sugar factories at East Grand Forks, Crookston, and Moorhead, Minn.; Drayton and Hillsboro, N.D.; and Sidney, Mont., under the name Sidney Sugars Incorporated. American Crystal's corporate headquarters and technical services facilities are located in Moorhead.
Note to media - please refer to this document for all information. No interviews will be granted.
Contact: Jeff Schweitzer