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Crystal sets 2021 crop payment estimate at $60 per ton

American Crystal Sugar Co. held its factory district meetings this past week. Company management announced the final 2020 crop payment is $60.58 per ton and the 2021 forecast payment is at $60. Final checks for 2020 and initial, partial checks for 2021 are being mailed Nov. 15. This may be the strongest since 2012.

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Tom Astrup, president and chief executive officer of American Crystal Sugar Co., in Moorhead, Minn. speaks from a stage at the Great Hall of the Holiday Inn, in a virtual annual meeting on Dec. 3, 2020, in Fargo, N.D. Mikkel Pates / Agweek

MOORHEAD, Minnesota — American Crystal Sugar Co. management last week announced to shareholders that they’ll receive strong payments of more than $60 per ton for both the 2020 and 2021 crops.

The company announced figures in a recent letter to grower-shareholders and through factory district meetings, Tom Astrup, president and chief executive officer, said producers will receive a final payment totaling $60.58 per ton for their 2020 crop. That’s higher than the $52 per ton initially projected a year ago. That will be across 10 million harvested tons on a crop that averaged a disappointing 24.8 tons.

Final checks for 2020 and initial checks for 2021 are being mailed Nov. 15. This may be the strongest since 2012.

Astrup acknowledged the figures but declined to immediately elaborate on what factors allowed the payment to rise by more than 16% from the initial estimate. The company told shareholders agri-products revenue added $2.80 to the 2020 payments, based on higher corn and feed values.

At the same time, the company announced a $60 per ton initial payment for the 2021 crop, which is applied to 11.8 million tons harvested, which is closer to the company’s goals. Both crops were affected by adverse late season weather.

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The company is not changing the $4 per ton “unit retains,” it withholds temporarily to reduce its borrowing costs, Astrup said.

Crystal’s beet prices are rivaling what was paid nine years ago. Those high prices later declined due to lower sugar prices. The company faces labor negotiations in 2022.

American Crystal again will hold its annual meeting in person on Dec. 2. 2021, at the Fargo Holiday Inn, after doing a virtual meeting because of COVID-19 in 2020. The company managers historically release more details at that time.

American Crystal is based in Moorhead. Farmers own five beet factories in the Red River Valley area, including North Dakota factories at Drayton and Hillsboro, and Minnesota factories at Crookston, East Grand Forks and Moorhead. The company also operates Sidney Sugars Inc., of Sidney, Montana, as a wholly owned subsidiary.

Inquiries on payment projection at Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative based in Wahpeton, North Dakota, were not immediately answered. That company’s annual meeting is Dec. 9, 2021, also at the Fargo Holiday Inn.

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