The USDA approved $285 million in disaster aid for sugarbeet cooperatives across the country due to production challenges in 2018 and 2019. Local sugarbeet co-ops received the funds last week and are in the process of distributing the payments to shareholders. Each cooperative is distributing payments in a way that works best for them and their members. American Crystal Sugar Company shareholders are getting payments based on planted acres for 2019 challenges. Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative and Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative shareholders will be getting payments for 2018 and 2019 challenges. “The proceeds from 2018 were fairly simple, because all of our acres were harvested. Any of the 2018 funds would be paid out in terms of the regular crop payment,” says Kurt Wickstrom, president and CEO, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative. “For 2019, the board chose to distribute a portion of those funds as an addition to the crop payment and a portion on per-planted acres for 2019.” Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative payments will go to the farmers who delivered harvested sugarbeets to the co-op. “It’s going to heal a lot of people, but it’s definitely not a profitable venture for these producers,” says Steve Domm, president, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative. Shareholders in these local co-ops should be receiving paperwork to fill out and return to their respective co-ops for the assistance. Listen to the story.