TEXAS SUGAR TEXAS GROWN
Those of us at the Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, Inc. (RGVSG) are proud of our South Texas roots, our rich history, and our significant contributions to the local, state and national economy.
We're one of the top 10 producers of raw sugar in the United States.
RGVSG is a member-owned cooperative comprised of over 126 growers in a three-county area. Together, we process more than 1.5 million tons of sugar cane annually, producing nearly 160,000 tons of raw sugar and 60,000 tons of molasses.
We're creating jobs and growing our economy.
The national sweetener industry creates $21.1 billion in economic activity. In Texas alone, more than 8,000 jobs rely on a strong domestic sweetener industry.
We never forget our roots and the contributions of our growers and staff that make RGVSG an industry leader. RGVSG employs 185 full-time employees and another 276 seasonal workers. We typically contribute more than 10 percent of the total gross revenues the Rio Grande Valley generates from agriculture each year.
We invite you to learn more about RGVSG, our industry and issues.
Texas Sugar. Texas Grown.
Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers (RGVSG), Inc. is a member-owned cooperative comprised of over 126 growers in a three-county area. Together, members produce more than 1.5 million tons of sugar cane each year, yielding nearly 160,000 tons of raw sugar and 60,000 tons of molasses. RGVSG is one of the top 10 producers of raw sugar in the United States.
RGVSG employs up to 500 workers in a normal producing year, which culminates with a harvesting period from October to April. Annual payroll of the cooperative exceeds $12 million, with an annual operating budget of more than $32 million.
In Texas, where more than 8,000 jobs rely on a strong U.S. sweetener industry, RGVSG alone accounts for up to 11 percent of the total gross revenues produced by Valley agriculture every year. Member growers utilize over 40,000 acres of rich South Texas farmland in the cultivation of sugar cane crops.
RGVSG works closely with Texas A&M University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other agricultural research and technology institutions to consistently improve the efficiency of sugar growing and production, passing along these benefits to its members. As a result of this collaboration, an average acre of sugar cane today yields 100 pounds of raw sugar more than the same acre did in 1990.
Sugar cane has been part of the Rio Grande Valley agricultural landscape for more than 200 years. First introduced to South Texas' subtropical climate in the early 1800s, five major sugar mills were in operation in the Valley by 1913. However, in a short span of eight years, economic and political hardships brought on by World War I forced the last of the mills to close in 1921.
In the 1960s - almost 40 years after the last sugar mill in the Valley was shuttered -- agricultural leaders in South Texas, in cooperation with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Weslaco and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, launched feasibility studies to determine whether sugar cane production could once again be cost-efficient in South Texas. When those studies returned solid data showing that the time was indeed right to re-enter the sugar market, the four-decade hiatus was over - and the sugar cane industry in the Valley was reborn.
The Valley's re-entry into the sugar cane market was a grassroots effort aimed at keeping costs as low as possible and returning maximum profit to the growers. In 1970, a cooperative of 100 South Texas farmers pledged both money and cropland to help build a new mill and establish sustainable crops. By 1973, the cooperative completed construction of a $28 million mill in time for its first harvest in December of that same year.
Today, RGVSG members produce more than 1.5 million tons of sugar cane each year on 40,000 acres in a three-county area. From that gross tonnage, the mill processes over 160,000 tons of raw sugar and 60,000 tons of blackstrap molasses. RGVSG employs 190 full-time employees and an additional 300 seasonal employees during the harvesting period (October through April) with an annual payroll exceeding $12 million. The total operating budget of the cooperative is more than $32 million.
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