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Michigan Sugar Company is nearing the end of its five-year expansion plan at their Croswell location. It used to slice around 4,000 tons of sugarbeets a day. Jim Ruhlman, executive director of Michigan Sugar, said that the capacity is what dictates what a sugar factory can do.
After a $65 million upgrade, the capacity is much larger.
“When it’s a five-year plan, you don’t see the incremental boost in slice right away—we are seeing that this year,” said Ruhlman. “We’ve had days where we slice 5,000, 5,200, 5,300 [tons.]”
The factory will have the ability to slice 6,000 tons of beets a day, but Ruhlman said that likely won’t happen until next year’s campaign. That’s not the only exciting thing happening at the Sanilac County factory.
“We have a new piling ground being built next to the factory where growers will be able to deliver beets at more pilers in a more spread out area, which is going to make their wait times and turnaround times shorter during harvest,” he said.
Ruhlman said the multi-million-dollar upgrade is a win for everyone.
“Employees love new technology, and they love to see a company put money into their factory,” said Ruhlman. “Our growers are going to enjoy better beet receiving days and better harvest days, and the overall returns when you can increase factory slice, there’s a pretty recent grower at the end of the day.”