Sugar Producer

February 2022

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28 SUGAR PRODUCER | FEBRUARY 2022 In an effort to shine a light on where sugar comes from and to showcase the people who make up the sugar industry, the Sugar Association held two "Farm to Table Tours" during the 2021 sugarbeet and sugarcane harvests. Through these tours, we set out to show key influencers (people who have significant followings on social media) where sugar is grown, how it is simply processed, and how it can be part of a balanced diet. Our guests walked through the fields, rode in harvesters, held the plants, saw how sugar is extracted and enjoyed good food. In turn, the influencers shared their Let's Take a Tour Social media influencers help spread the good word about real sugar. FROM THE SUGAR ASSOCIATION By Courtney Gaine, President & CEO The Sugar Association invited top social media influencers to share their experiences on the Farm to Table Tours with their followers. experiences online so their followers got a glimpse into a side of sugar they may not be familiar with. To the North and to the South We wanted people to experience real sugar's story firsthand, and what better way than to introduce the influencers to some of the passionate, hardworking farm families of the U.S. sugarbeet and sugarcane industries? On Sept. 28-30, 2021, in collaboration with American Crystal Sugar Company and the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, influencers visited 157 Farms, owned by Erik Bakke and Beau Jacobsen in Ulen, Minnesota. The trip wrapped up with a tour of the American Crystal factory in Moorhead. While in the Fargo area, attendees put their sugar skills to the test with a fun, inventive and of course tasty, cupcake competition. Before the year came to a close, we brought another group of influencers to New Orleans on December 13- 14, 2021. In collaboration with the American Sugar Cane League and ASR Group, influencers were hosted by Rodney and Stephen Simoneaux on their farm in Belle Rosa, Louisiana, and toured the Lula Sugar Mill and the Domino Sugar Chalmette refinery. They also heard a little history about the many desserts with New Orleans ties from Charley and Romney Richard, experts on all things sugar. Throughout each of the outings, influencers got to spend quality time with Sugar Association staff, growers, processors and industry experts. Our intimate and relaxed interactions allowed our attendees to engage with us, providing us the ability to boast about the sugar industry and discuss important sugar facts. The Personalities Between the two tours, we had 15 attendees, including 10 registered dietitians, one chef, three food bloggers (one who is also a Ph.D. neuroscientist), and one modern farm advocate. Each of these social media influencers was selected because they are open-minded individuals who promote and maintain a balanced approach to diet and lifestyle. These people are passionate about sharing information and educating and inspiring their followers.

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