FAMU, U.S. Sugar Team On Sugar Research


Florida A&M University, U.S. Sugar, and Tuskegee University are teaming up to study the environmental and economic impacts of sugarcane farming in South Florida as part of an effort to improve sustainable agriculture practices in the region. Researchers will specifically study sugarcane burning methods and how they impact the environment, as well as economic impacts to the surrounding communities.

U.S Sugar

“By uniting our expertise and resources, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering innovative, environmentally responsible agriculture in the Glades region and beyond,” Dr. Garlen D. Weston, Interim Dean of Agriculture at FAMU said, according to news reports. “This collaboration exemplifies our dedication to understanding sustainable agricultural practices and underscores our unwavering commitment to the well-being of our communities.”

Sugarcane agriculture has long been an economic driver for parts of South Florida, particularly in the Glades Region of Florida, which includes cities and unincorporated areas surrounding Lake Okeechobee, namely Belle Glade, Pahokee, South Bay, and Canal Point. U.S. Sugar is based in Clewiston.

Sugar production in the area has long been involved in political and environmental fights, with environmental groups often blaming companies for greenhouse gas emissions, contributors to seasonal red tide, air quality concerns, Everglades water quality impacts, and other factors.

“We are committed to strengthening partnerships and highlighting the role we play in our communities and our environmental stewardship,” U.S. Sugar Community Relations Director Brannan Thomas said in a statement to the Tallahassee Democrat. “This collaboration marks a significant step toward a more comprehensive and inclusive understanding of our rural communities and sustainable agricultural practices.”

According to a February 2023 report by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Florida ranked first nationally in value of sugar produced from sugarcane in 2020, with a value of roughly $737 million, marking 50 percent of the value of the crop.

Florida and Louisiana are the country’s two largest commercial producers of sugarcane, with more than 403,000 acres harvested in the Sunshine State in 2021 alone. That produced more than 17 million tons of sugarcane and more than 2 million tons of sugar.


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