Sweet smell of success

The sugar factory in Lovell is chugging along 24/7 in an effort to process the record-breaking yield of 28.9 tons per acre grown by local farmers this season.

The factory, a cooperative owned by the farmers, began processing the beets into pure granulated sugar in the fall. According to Senior Agriculturalist Randal Jobman, the campaign is about 85 percent complete, and he expects the entire process to be finished in early March.

A column of steam flows from one of the pipes at the Western Sugar Factory in Lovell. The factory is running 24/7 to process the heavy yield of beets harvested this year.

The huge piles of beets that have marked the entrance to Lovell during the campaign have become noticeably smaller every day as truckload after truckload of the bounty are delivered to the factory for processing. The factory slices about 3,000 tons of beets per day and processes them into sugar that is loaded on to trains and trucks and shipped across the country.

The factory employs about 125 workers during the campaign. Most of the employees are from the Lovell and Powell areas and over half of them return year after year to work the campaign.

According to Jobman, the unseasonably warm weather has not created problems.

“Although some were worried about the warm winter, it hasn’t been a problem,” said Jobman. “The piles are holding up well.”

“The factory is slicing every day 24/7, and the beets are yielding 17.23 percent sugar content,” he said. “Things are progressing very nicely. It was a good year for Lovell. Historical is the best way to put it. A real record-breaker.”

By Patti Carpenter