As Chairman of the Board of American Crystal Sugar Company and a Minnesota farmer, it was unsettling to read a letter in this newspaper by a D.C. lobbyist attacking Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) for supporting U.S. farmers.

    It’s easy to understand why Mr. Pyle, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist, is confused about Senator Klobuchar’s support for U.S. sugar policy. Let me remind everyone why she does:

    Our industry provides a $4.9 billion economic impact to the Red River Valley. In Minnesota, over 28,000 people are employed by the sugar industry, representing a large portion of the 142,000 employed by the industry nationwide. At our Crookston factory, American Crystal, employs 260 people and 300 of our 2,800 shareholders deliver their beets there to keep the Crookston factory running. The well-being of our employees and shareholders is dependent upon the sugar industry and American Crystal. This is why Senator Klobuchar advocates for us, her constituents, in Washington, D.C.

    Senator Klobuchar should be applauded for supporting sugar policy. It operates at zero-cost to taxpayers, keeps prices stable and ensures that U.S. farmers and workers are able to compete with foreign countries. Without the sugar program, U.S. farmers would have to compete against farmers in foreign countries who are subsidized and sell sugar for prices well below their cost of production.

    Mr. Pyle obviously does not know our town and is in no position to tell our readers what’s important to the people who live and work here. I thank Senator Klobuchar for her support of our industry.

Curt Knutson
Fisher, Minnesota