American Sugar Cane League annual meeting set for February

THIBODAUX, La. — The annual American Sugar Cane League membership meeting will be held in Lafayette at the Lafayette Hilton Feb. 5 to 6 in conjunction with the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists.

The society is comprised of Louisiana sugarcane growers and the state’s 11 sugar mills from the 23-parish area collectively known as the Sugar Belt.

The society deals with the agricultural and manufacturing aspects of the sugar industry and is comprised of two major branches, the Florida and Louisiana divisions. The society also publishes scientific papers in their annual Journal of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists.

Jim Simon, general manager of the American Sugar Cane League, said he expected the turnout to be good.

“We’ve just had one of the best sugarcane harvests on record and I think a lot of our membership will be here to share in the camaraderie,” Simon said. “The meeting is an opportunity for the members to make new friends, renew acquaintances and celebrate the results of their hard work and gain a better understanding of the external forces that affect the sugar industry.”

Featured speakers at the conference are 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, Simon said.

Roney is an economist and knowledgeable on all economic issues affecting the U.S. sugar industry, which includes the cane producing states of Louisiana, Florida, Texas and Hawaii and the Midwestern sugar beet producing states. He is a frequent guest on network television news shows as a spokesman for the commodity.

Wiesemeyer is a well-respected agricultural advisor and has studied agricultural policy and trade issues since 1978. He contributes daily to Informa Economics’ Morning Comments report which provides its clients with up-to-the-minute information on agricultural policy and trade developments.

Wiesemeyer has had the opportunity to interview many high level government officials, including Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and several U.S. Department of Agriculture secretaries. He has also served as the Washington editor and bureau chief for ProFarmer and was the Washington bureau chief for Futures World News and written extensively for Doane’s Agricultural Report and Washington Farmletter.

Outgoing American Sugar Cane League President Wallace Ellender III will oversee the activities and preside over the election of the 2013 League Board of Directors, which is comprised of 43 directors.

On Feb. 6, the conference continues with the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists meeting. The entire conference ends after the society’s manufacturing presentation.

Simon said 2012 yield figures will be available by the February meeting and it appears that the 2012 harvest could be a record breaker.

“Except for Hurricane Isaac and December rain, the past sugarcane season was marked by optimum growing and harvest situations for most of the year,” Simon said. “In general, the weather was very accommodating and I’m not sure when the industry last experienced these kinds of near-perfect conditions.”

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