American Sugar Cane League reports 1.59 millon ton crop

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Cora-Texas Sugar Mill grinds sugarcane last November in White Castle. The American Sugar Cane League recently reported a 1.59 million ton crop this year. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

LAFAYETTE - Jim Simon, manager of the American Sugar Cane League, said the 2013 sugarcane crop was, from a production standpoint, one of the best in the 219-year history of Louisiana sugarcane farming despite two hard freezes during the harvest.

“The success of this crop is due to the excellent research program we have in Louisiana, the efficiency of our 11 sugar mills and the skill of our sugarcane farmers,” Simon said. “The Louisiana sugarcane farmer is among the best in the world.”

The 2013 crop produced 1.59 million tons of raw sugar from 409,000 harvested acres. The cane production per acre was 34.3 tons, which produced an average of 7,771 pounds of raw sugar per acre.

“While sugar production was good, the true measure of a successful crop rests ultimately with the financial performance of our industry,” Simon said. “To that end, despite the efficiencies of our farmers and millers, this one will rank quite low in profitability as sugar prices are at their lowest in 30 years and input costs are through the roof.”

Simon said domestic sugar market is oversupplied right now because of Mexican imports.

The ASCL is comprised of Louisiana sugarcane growers American Sugar Cane League reports 1.59 million ton crop and the state’s 11 sugar mills from the 23-parish area collectively known as the Sugar Belt.

Jack Roney, director of economics and policy analysis for the American Sugar Alliance, and Jim Wiesemeyer, vice president of the prestigious Informa Economics commodity, food industry and agribusiness research and consulting firm, were the featured speakers at the annual meeting.

Roney said the United States sugar market is oversupplied but not because of U.S. sugarcane or sugar beet overproduction. Roney laid the blame for depressed prices squarely at the foot of the NAFTA.

The ASCL also re-elected Daigle to a second one-year term as president of the organization. Daigle is chief executive officer of Lula-Westfield LLC, an organization that operates two sugar mills in Assumption Parish.

Daigle will preside over a 46-member board of directors that is comprised of 22 producer members, 11 processor members, 11 at-large members designated by the processors and two landlord members.

Iberville/West Baton Rouge Parish grower Travis Medine also was elected to replace Robert Judice as a grower member on the board of directors. Judice, a fourth generation sugarcane farmer, has served on the board since 1989.