Oldest factory in the United States set six new production records, earned award based on slice and extraction

CARO, MICHIGAN – Michigan Sugar Company officials today recognized employees at the sugarbeet processing facility in Caro as 2023-2024 Campaign Champions.

The award – revived this year for the first time in decades – honors the factory that met or exceeded its targets for slicing beets and extracting sugar by the highest percentages. The Caro factory finished the campaign with an average daily slice rate of 3,752 tons with a 78.6% extraction rate.

“Our team in Caro had an absolutely incredible campaign and are well deserving of this award,” said Nick Klein, Vice President of Operations for Michigan Sugar Company. “The team focused in all the right areas of maintenance to ready their factory, then throughout the campaign, they were steady and solid, day after day after day, even when challenges arose. Their performance is a credit to every employee at that site, whether they work in the factory, in packaging and warehousing, or in the agriculture department. It was a true team effort.”

During the campaign, the Caro employees set six new production records, including a new record for daily slice set on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, when the team processed 4,801 tons of sugarbeets, beating the previous record of 4,760 tons set in September 2006. Adding to the achievement of the record was the fact that the Caro team achieved a sugar extraction rate of more than 85% that day. Other records set during the campaign are as follows:

  • December Monthly Slice Average – 4,060 tons.
  • April Daily Slice – 3,816 tons.
  • April Monthly Slice Average – 3,345 tons.
  • April Daily Sugar – 783,400 pounds.
  • April Monthly Sugar Average – 671,800 pounds.

“I am incredibly proud of the success the Caro team had this campaign,” said Josh Taylor, Caro Factory Manager. “Ag did a great job maintaining the quality of the sugarbeet supply and P&W managed the sugar path and silos well. The support of both Ag and P&W helped give us an opportunity to excel and the Caro factory staff did an excellent job maintaining and operating the factory.”

Taylor said he was especially excited to break the 17-year-old daily slice record.

“It was an awesome achievement,” he said. “We were very close to breaking a few other longstanding slice and sugar pack records and have targeted some key items to address this summer to help set us up for success next campaign. I expect to see the Caro factory on the top of the list next year as well.”

Built in 1899, the Caro factory is the oldest sugarbeet processing operation in the United States. It is Michigan Sugar Company’s smallest of four sugarbeet slicing operations – the others being in Bay City, Croswell, and Sebewaing – and the only factory that produces liquid sugar. Collectively, this campaign, the four factories sliced more than 4.2 million tons of beets and produced nearly 1.1 billion pounds of sugar over a 216-day campaign. Together, the factories established 13 new production records.

Klein explained that years ago the honor of Campaign Champion was awarded each year with large pennants presented to the winning factory. At some point, the award was suspended, but company officials decided to bring it back this year.

“It’s meant to promote friendly and healthy competition between the factories, and it should be considered a great honor to receive this award,” said Klein. “All of our factories had successes this past year and we are proud of all our employees who put in the hard work to produce great results, but Caro came out on top as Campaign Champions. They’ll get to defend that title next year while the other factories strive to win it.”

Company officials were in Caro today to present three large banners noting the accomplishment to the employees in the factory, as well as the packaging and warehousing and agriculture departments, as the entire workforce in Caro contributed to the facility being named Campaign Champions.