Third season of public tours to begin in September, offering firsthand look at Michigan Sugar processing operations
BAY CITY – Michigan Sugar Company recently wrapped up its second season of public tours at its sugarbeet processing facility in Bay City and plans are now being made for season three.
“Our 2018-2019 tour season proved to be busier than ever. Interest in tours and learning more about Michigan Sugar Company has continued to grow, and we are so glad to accommodate as many people as possible,” said Elizabeth Taylor, Ag Relations and Communications Manager for Michigan Sugar Company, who oversees the plant tour program. “We have a unique opportunity to educate our community members on agriculture, food processing and food packaging all in one tour. Our Bay City factory has been part of the area’s landscape for more than 110 years and we are always excited to show people what we do.”
From September 2018 through April 2019, more than 80 tours were offered at the factory, located at 2600 S. Euclid Ave. in Bay City. The company welcomed more than 1,100 guests during those tours that give the public a behind-the-scenes look at how sugarbeets are sliced, how the sugar is extracted and how the packaging and warehouse facilities operate. There also are tasting stations along the way.
Taylor said this year marked the introduction of a newly renovated Factory Tour Welcome and Education Center.
“With the tremendous growth of our tour program, we needed a dedicated space for greeting visitors and starting the tour,” Taylor said. “Our new Welcome and Education Center is a wonderful room for people to learn more about our cooperative while waiting for the tour. Working with ZENTX Media Group of Freeland, Michigan, we designed a room that is fun, educational and hands-on.”
The third season of public tours is set to begin in September. Michigan Sugar Company will begin scheduling tours in August and posting available dates online at michigansugar.com/factory-tours. Reminders also will be posted on the company’s Facebook page.
The guided tours last about 60 minutes and all those who take part leave with a special 2-pound bag of Michigan Sugar Company’s white granulated Pioneer Sugar, as well as their choice of a Pete or Betty Beet plush toy.
About Michigan Sugar Company
Michigan Sugar Company was founded in 1906 when six smaller sugar companies merged their operations. In 2002, Michigan Sugar Company became a grower-owned cooperative and in 2004, it merged with Monitor Sugar Company to form the company that exists today.
Michigan Sugar Company is headquartered in Bay City and we have sugarbeet processing facilities in Bay City, Caro, Croswell and Sebewaing, Michigan. Its nearly 900 grower-owners plant and harvest up to 160,000 acres of sugarbeets each year in 20 Michigan counties, as well as Ontario, Canada. Those beets are sliced at the factories and turned into about 1.3 billion pounds of sugar annually. That sugar is sold to industrial, commercial and retail customers under the Pioneer and Big Chief brands.
Michigan Sugar Company has 930 year-round employees and an additional 1,100 seasonal workers. It is the No. 1 employer in Huron County, the No. 2 employer in Bay and Sanilac counties and the No. 3 employer in Tuscola County. The company’s annual payroll is more than $65 million and its annual local economic impact is about $500 million.
Michigan Sugar Company is the third largest of nine sugarbeet processing companies in the United States and Michigan is one of 11 states where sugarbeets are grown in the country