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University of Minnesota Extension

Economic contribution of the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative, 2021

Person driving a machine to harvest sugarbeets on a farm field.

Key findings

  • Regional economic contribution: In 2021, the SMBSC generated $808.5 million of economic activity in the 20-county region.
    • Includes $209.5 million in labor income or income for the region’s families and farmers.
    • The cooperative supported 4,900 jobs.
    • Industries that benefit the most from the SMBSC include real estate, crop production, and repair and maintenance.
  • Tax collections: In 2021, the SMBSC and its growers generated an estimated $47.6 million in state and local tax collections.
    • The state garnered $17.4 million; the 20 counties $10.8 million; the remainder went to cities, townships, and school districts.
    • Tax impact includes estimated taxes paid directly by the SMBSC and its growers, and taxes paid by businesses in the supply chains.
  • Sugarbeet production: Minnesota leads the nation in sugarbeet production. In the past 10 years, Minnesota has accounted for between 30 and 35 percent of all U.S. production.
    • The SMBSC’s growers spent $177 million in 2021 to plant, grow, and harvest their crops.
    • Major expenditures include fertilizer and chemicals, land rent and labor.
    • Sugarbeet farmers employed 1,750 people during the season, including hired labor and the farmers.
  • Sugar production: In the past 20 years, overall sugar production rose by 17 percent.
    • Sugarbeets continue to be an important source of sugar, accounting for between 50 and 60 percent of national production.
    • The SMBSC spent $198.5 million in fiscal year 2021 to perform its cooperative and extraction functions.
    • The cooperative spent $37 million on capital improvements.
  • State economic contribution: In 2021, the SMBSC created $931.1 million of economic activity in Minnesota.
    • This includes $255.6 million in labor income for the state’s residents.
    • The cooperative supported 5,290 jobs in the state.

About this report

Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (SMBSC), located in Renville, is a major beet sugar extraction cooperative. More than five hundred shareholders grow approximately 3.6 million tons of sugarbeets annually, producing up to 1 billion pounds of pure white sugar.

SMBSC wanted to understand its role in the regional and state economy. Thus, they partnered with University of Minnesota Extension to analyze the economic contribution of their cooperative and extraction functions, as well as the impact of their member growers. The primary study area was the 20-county region in which SMBSC members grow sugarbeets. The region includes Big Stone, Brown, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Douglas, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Nicollet, Pope, Redwood, Renville, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine counties.

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Reviewed in 2022

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