Gov. Snyder tours Bay County's Michigan Sugar Company - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Gov. Snyder tours Bay County's Michigan Sugar Company

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(10/21/13) - Gov. Rick Snyder traveled Mid-Michigan Monday. He stopped in Bay County to visit the Michigan Sugar Company. Snyder says the company is a true example of successful business in the state.

The governor strapped on a hard hat and safety goggles, and got a first hand look at the operation from the factory floor.

Snyder took the opportunity to see how beets are processed into sugar. He says he is excited about what's happening at Michigan Sugar Company.

"We are such a great state. We need to talk about successes because that will encourage other people to participate," Snyder said.

Michigan Sugar is owned by about 1,000 sugar beet farmers. Together they process locally grown crops into sugar that is sold under the Pioneer and Big Chief labels. according to the company every year Michigan Sugar produces 1 billion pounds of sugar and generates nearly $400 million into the local economy. Those are healthy numbers for an organization that experienced financial hardships, but made a tremendous turnaround, coming all the way back from bankruptcy.

"The growers about 12 years ago really saved this company. 1,000 of them banded together and bought the company, and then really invested back into the process, made us much more efficient," said President and CEO of Michigan Sugar, Mark Flegenheimer.

"In the last 10 years they've not only come back, but they're coming back strong," said State Representative Charles Brunner, (D) Bay City.

Michigan Sugar continues to grow company leaders are now investing more in research and development.

"They've added powdered sugar, brown sugar, sugar lines, those are the kinds of things that add more value-- that allows them to hire more people, be more productive," Snyder said.

Additions that also help to improve the states bottom line.

"Agriculture is a $91 billion industry in Michigan," said Wayne Wood, president of the Michigan Farmers Bureau.

"It's just huge for our economy. Number two industry in the state, if you asked anybody, I bet they wouldn't know that," Brunner said.

Snyder's visit to watch the sugar process was appreciated, and so was his enthusiasm.

"It's great that you have someone at the state level recognizing a success story in Michigan," said Carl Bednarski a farmer in Michigan.

 The governor says he hopes to see more business success stories - like Michigan Sugar Company, across the state.

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