Bumper sugar beet crop keeps Montana factories going

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BILLINGS (AP) — Montana’s sugar factories are working overtime to process a record crop of sugar beets.

Western Sugar Cooperative in Billings plans to go into March turning beets into sugar. The company fired up the factory in late August, its earliest start in recent memory.

Randall Jobman is Western’s vice president of agriculture, Northern Region.

Jobman says Montana farmers produced a record 36.6 tons per acre.

With a full month of the sugar-making to go, there are massive beet piles along the Yellowstone River still waiting to be trucked to Billings.

In Sidney, Duane Peters, of Sidney Sugars, says the factory fired up in September, instead of October, its usual beginning.