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U.S. Sugar Industry

A Proud Industry

A proud industry got its roots in Louisiana in 1751,1 when sugar cane was first planted in the United States. Sugar beets came to the U.S. a little bit later, when they were first planted in 1836 near Philadelphia.2

From its earliest beginnings, growing sugar has been a family business. Today’s sugar family includes not only the multigenerational farmers who plant, grow and harvest the sugar beets and sugar cane, but also the truck drivers who move the crops from the fields; the employees who work in the mills, processing plants and refineries that extract, purify and package sugar; and all the people who work to get sugar from the packaging facilities to your table.

There are some neat facts and impressive numbers about the U.S. sugar industry that you may not know:

For more information on sugar’s impact on the U.S. economy, visit sugaralliance.org

Where in the U.S. Does Sugar Come From

Growers and processors

Every day, family farmers plant, harvest and care for sugar beets and sugar cane used to bring the classic sweet flavor—and more—to the foods we enjoy. Many of these sugar beet and sugar cane farms have been passed down for several generations, making sugar growing an important family legacy.

The more we get to know sugar, the more we come to love and appreciate it—especially in moderation. Get to know some of the growers and processors who make a living by nurturing nature’s oldest sweetener.

Grower Profiles


1. Noel Deer, The History of Sugar: Volume One (London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd., 1949), 15.

2. Austin, Harry. History and Development of the Beet Sugar Industry. National Press Building, Washington D.C. 1928.

3. https://sugaralliance.org/where-is-sugar-produced

4. https://sugaralliance.org/project/united-states-worlds-fifth-largest-sugar-producing-country

5. https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/sugar-sweeteners/background.aspx#production

6. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/sugar-and-sweeteners-yearbook-tables.aspx

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There's more to sugar.

Sugar beet and sugar cane farmers are growing nature’s oldest sweetener, and our association is growing awareness of and confidence in sugar.

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U.S. Sugar Industry

Sugar Basics

Find out what it is; where it comes from; and more about this simple, functional ingredient.

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