SCOTTSBLUFF – The USDA will release in the next couple weeks some $285 million dollars in disaster relief to 6 sugar beet grower cooperatives across the country, including Western Sugar – which has operations in the Panhandle and southeast Wyoming, northeast Colorado, northern Wyoming, and Montana.
Western Sugar south regional vice president of agriculture Jerry Darnell says all the USDA paperwork has been completed and the payments through the WHIP, Wildfires and Hurricane Indemnity Program, Plus program will be mailed next Wednesday – reaching growers within a day or two after that.
The disaster assistance program is aimed at helping cover losses suffered as the result of incidents that included freezes last summer and the collapse of the Gering-Ft Laramie irrigation tunnel last summer.
As for this year’s sugar beet crop, Darnell says the weather is warming up and Western Sugar is finishing contracting with growers for the 2020 contract year.
He expects most of the growers in the Panhandle and eastern Wyoming to start planting in mid-April, adding that some Colorado growers have already been planting.