By Mikkel Pates, Grand Forks Herald

FARGO, N.D. — As U.S. sugar beet growers face increasing political fights about things such as genetically modified organisms in beet seed, they’re raising the profile of their staunchest allies — farm women.

Luther Markwart, executive vice president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, spoke March 26 at the International Sugarbeet Institute in Fargo, N.D., about some of the industry’s challenges and opportunities.

[EasyDNNGallery|1572|Width|350|Height|350|position|left|resizecrop|False|lightbox|False|title|False|description|False|redirection|False|LinkText||]Then he introduced Laura Rutherford, a Red River Valley farm wife and the first of a new cadre of farm women from sugar beet regions across the country whom the ASA will call upon to tell their story to the media.

“She’s the leader because she helped create it,” Markwart said of the new campaign.

Rutherford, of Grafton, N.D., will be an effective farm voice to help teach consumers about the safety of sugar. Markwart said the industry historically has been represented by male voices who approach topics from a business perspective and aren’t always as effective with consumers.

Women in the audience who often make family food choices might be inclined to listen to a farm woman and mother who has the same concerns they have for the “environmental benefits and the safety of the food” produced with crops enhanced with GMO traits, he said.

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Source:  Grand Forks Herald

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