U.S. Sugar Providing More than 2,000 Area Students with Backpacks and School Supplies For Back to School

Clewiston, FL – This fall, thousands of Glades-area students will be heading back to school with new uniforms, backpacks and school supplies thanks to generous support from the people of U.S. Sugar. During these next few weeks, employees from the company will be on hand at community events to help distribute the materials to schoolchildren and their parents in Glades, Hendry, and Palm Beach Counties.

U.S. Sugar Community Relations Director Brannan Thomas with local students and Clewiston Library Director Natasha Hayes.

“There is perhaps no better investment in our communities that investing in our children to help them succeed in school,” said Community Relations Director Brannan Thomas. “This summer, U.S. Sugar is stepping up in a big way to provide local students with much-needed schools supplies such as school uniforms, backpacks, pencils, crayons, folders, and paper.”

As part of the company’s back to school efforts, the people of U.S. Sugar are partnering with local organizations and city governments: City of South Bay, Clewiston Library, Inspiration of God Church in South Bay, Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, Florida Community Health Center in Clewiston and the Glades County Library.

On July 25, 2023, U.S. Sugar Community Relations Director Brannan Thomas talks about the upcoming school year with local students from Clewiston.

Schedule for the distribution of school supplies:

–          July 28, 2023: Glades County Library distributing backpacks and school supplies

–          July 29, 2023: City of South Bay distributing backpacks and school supplies

–          July 29, 2023: Florida Community Health Center in Clewiston distributing backpacks and school supplies

–          August 6, 2023: Inspiration Church of God in South Bay distributing school uniforms

–          August 11, 2023: Education Foundation of Palm Beach County distributing backpacks and school supplies

“We are incredibly thankful to U.S. Sugar for always being so willing to contribute to the community when it needs something,” said Nardina Johnson, Center Administrator for the Florida Community Health Center in Clewiston. “As a local resident and Mom, I know how much this means to parents as they get ready to send their children back to school soon.”

“The City of South Bay greatly appreciates the generosity of U.S. Sugar for supporting our children and providing essential school supplies as another school year is set to begin,” said South Bay Mayor Joe Kyles. “We can always count on our friends in agriculture to help support those in need.”

U.S. Sugar is a South Florida farming company that sustainably grows sugarcane, citrus, sweet corn and other winter and spring vegetables.  The company was founded in 1931 by Charles Stewart Mott, a visionary leader who hailed from a long line of farmers. Since the beginning, the company’s success has been rooted in traditional farming values and respect for the land. For more information, please visit www.ussugar.com.

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U.S. Sugar Continues to Help Feed Local Families with Florida Sweet Corn Deliveries

Clewiston, FL – In continuation of their local feeding efforts, the people of U.S. Sugar recently donated more than 2,000 crates of Glades-grown sweet corn across South Florida in partnership with Duda Farm Fresh Foods, C & B Farms in Clewiston and Robert Erneston Produce Inc. of Stuart.

“No matter what challenges face our world, farmers strive to provide safe, locally grown food to Americans every single day,” said Judy Sanchez, Senior Director for Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. “Even with the progress made since the start of the pandemic, many people are still struggling. U.S. Sugar is committed to helping put nutritious food on the family table because everyone deserves access to a healthy meal.”

With distribution hubs in Hendry, Lee, Palm Beach and Martin Counties, U.S. Sugar employees and volunteers provided over 100,000 ears of fresh, Florida-grown sweet corn to nearly two dozen community organizations who serve families in need across the region.

“It is a blessing to know that U.S. Sugar is always there to offer support,” said Janet Hernandez, Mayor of Indiantown. “They have been a constant source of goodwill in times of need, and our town is very grateful.”

As they have for nearly 90 years, the people of U.S. Sugar are proud to continue to serve their local communities. Since COVID-19 began, those efforts have included the donation of thousands of crates of fresh produce, orange juice, bottled water, N95 masks and hand sanitizer to health care employees, and hot meals for elderly and homebound individuals.

“The support we receive from U.S. Sugar has never faltered,” said Steve Wilson, Mayor of Belle Glade. “They show up time and time again always ready to lend a helping hand.”

“U.S. Sugar is constantly engaged with our community here in America’s Sweetest Town,” says Mali Gardner, Clewiston City Commissioner. “They always make sure their neighbors are taken care of, and their efforts within our non-profit community do not go unnoticed.”

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure that no one has to go hungry in our community,” says Stefanie Edwards, Chief Development & Operating Office of the Community Cooperative. “To partner with a company that shares those same values is a blessing.”

U.S. Sugar is recognized as a leading Florida sweet corn grower, its lands producing half of Florida’s entire crop annually.

About U.S. Sugar

U.S. Sugar is a farming company that grows sugarcane, citrus, sweet corn and other winter and spring vegetables in South Florida. The company was founded in 1931 by Charles Stewart Mott, a visionary leader who hailed from a long line of farmers. Since the beginning, the company’s success has been rooted in traditional farming values and respect for the land.

About Duda Farm Fresh Foods

Starting out as a humble celery farm in 1926, DUDA’s business operations today include Duda Farm Fresh Foods, one of the world’s leading producers and suppliers of celery and other quality fresh and fresh-cut vegetables and citrus; The Viera Company, a highly regarded community developer with fully-integrated real estate operations including Viera Builders, a residential home builder; as well as Duda Ranches, manager of DUDA’s agricultural operations including sod, sugarcane, citrus and cattle.

C & B Farms

C & B consists of farms located in Clewiston, Florida and Baxley, Georgia. C & B grows a wide array of specialty vegetables and herbs both conventionally and organically, and the recent addition of the Georgia farm gives C & B’s customers “year-round options”. C & B is focused on safe, healthy and sustainable food, allowing Chuck to establish a longstanding reputation in the produce industry. His ongoing dedication to quality foods is carrying the company into the future.

About Robert Erneston Produce Inc.

Robert Erneston Produce is proud to serve more than 400 of the finest country clubs, hotels, restaurants, caterers, schools, and retailers in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties. We specialize in procuring the best quality, peak-of-the-season produce grown from local, national and international sources, and delivering this produce in prime condition. Our heavy volume ensures you get the freshest product with the longest possible shelf life.

U.S. Sugar, Glades Cities and Sheriff’s Departments Partner to Provide Families with Safe, Socially-Distant Trick or Treating Options

Clewiston, FL– This Halloween, the people of U.S. Sugar are teaming up with the cities of Moore Haven, LaBelle, Clewiston, Belle Glade, and Indiantown as well as local sheriffs’ departments to safely distribute sweet treats to area children. Candy will be available to all children in attendance at the below events.

“The sweetest time of year is upon us, and the people of U.S. Sugar are happy to be doing our part to help provide Glades-area children with a safe place to get sweet treats,” said U.S. Sugar Community Relations Manager Brannnan Thomas. “We appreciate our community partners for helping us to get the word and the candy out this Halloween.”

“Allowing families to safely receive candy in our communities on Halloween is a priority here in Moore Haven,” said Glades County Sheriff David Hardin. “We appreciate the support of U.S. Sugar to help bring together families in our community.”

“While COVID-19 has prevented us from doing many things, it has not stopped our children’s’ desire to safely trick or treat this Halloween,” said Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden. “Our department appreciates the opportunity to work with U.S. Sugar and provide safe options for trick or treating this season.”

At all community event locations, children and families are encouraged to follow all Centers for Disease Control guidelines. These include maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and the use of face masks. When possible, U.S. Sugar and its partners will be distributing candy to vehicles as they drive through event locations. For more information, please visit the U.S. Sugar Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/USSugarFL/.

Details on community Halloween events

Moore Haven | Fri. Oct. 30

Glades County Trunk or Treat: 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Chalo Nitka Grounds – 998 S US 27

Decorate your car- Please wear a face covering

Village of Indiantown | Sat. Oct. 31

No Tricks, Just Treats Drive-By:  3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

The Village Hall – 15516 SW Osceola St.

City of Belle Glade | Sat. Oct. 31

Octoberfest: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Louis Butts Park – 1224 SW Ave. E Place

Food, Music, Haunted House, Candy & Costume Contest

Face coverings required. Children must be accompanied by an adult

City of Clewiston | Sat. Oct. 31

Mobile Trick or Treat: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

John Boy Auditorium – 1200 S WC Owen Ave.

Collect Halloween candy from the safety of your car

LaBelle | Sat. Oct. 31

Third Annual Trunk or Treat: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

LaBelle VFW 10100 – 20 Veterans Way

(Next to the Rodeo Grounds)

Free hotdogs, juice & chips for the kids

LaBelle | Sat. Oct. 31

Caloosa Baptist Church Trunk or Treat: 5 p.m.

Caloosa Baptist Church – 550 W. Hickpooche Ave.

LaBelle | Sat. Oct. 31

Hometown Trunk or Treat: 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Davis Prati Park – 1287 Lillian St.

Moore Haven | Sat. Oct. 31

First United Methodist Church Trunk or Treat: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

300 Avenue L

Kids vote for the best decorated trunk

U.S. Sugar to sponsor annual J. Nelson Fairbanks golf tournament fundraiser

The J. Nelson Fairbanks family is shown here when the Fairbanks Back Nine was dedicated at the 2016 tournament. Pictured left to right are Lilly Fairbanks (granddaughter, 12), Vanessa Hodak (daughter), John Hodak (son-in-law), Anita Fairbanks (wife), J. Nelson Fairbanks, Jay Fairbanks (son), Hanna Hodak (granddaughter, 13), Olga Fairbanks (daughter-in-law), Preston Fairbanks (grandson, 13), and Dylan Hodak (grandson, 12).


CLEWISTON — U.S. Sugar and city of Clewiston are pleased to announce the fourth consecutive J. Nelson Fairbanks U.S. Sugar Annual Golf Tournament will be on Saturday, April 29, at the Clewiston Golf Course. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m., opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m., with a shot-gun tournament start scheduled for 9 a.m.

Sponsored by U.S. Sugar and the city of Clewiston, this community golf tournament is held in honor of J. Nelson Fairbanks for his longtime support of sports and recreational activities in the Clewiston community, particularly those benefiting youth, baseball and golf. Proceeds of the annual golf tournament will benefit The First Tee Foundation of Clewiston and the Clewiston Golf Course.

J. Nelson Fairbanks served as president and chief executive officer of U.S. Sugar from 1987 to 2000. His 13-year tenure as chief executive saw the transition to 100 percent mechanical sugarcane harvest and the move from raw to refined sugar with the construction of the Clewiston Refinery. The Refinery opened in 1998 as the nation’s newest and only fully integrated cane sugar refinery. U.S. Sugar’s refined sugar was marketed through United Sugars, creating the first nationwide sugar marketing firm. Under Fairbanks, U.S. Sugar also planted citrus groves, built the nation’s newest and most efficient citrus processing plant and purchased the South Central Florida Express Railroad. Mr. Fairbanks, his executive team and U.S. Sugar employees, retirees, growers and community members led sugar industry efforts to defeat a statewide penny-a-pound sugar tax referendum.

Mr. Fairbanks has always been well known for his love of golf, baseball and his pride in the Clewiston community, where he lived for more than 40 years and where he raised his family. Fairbanks now resides in Windermere with his beloved wife, Anita. He keeps busy in retirement with his children Jay (Olga) and Vanessa (John Hodak) and four grandchildren: Preston J. Nelson (13) and Lilly (12) Fairbanks; and Hanna (13) and Dylan (12) Hodak.

U.S. Sugar is a Florida farming company and a market leader involved in sustainable growing and processing of sugarcane, citrus and sweet corn. Southern Gardens Citrus and South Central Florida Express railroad are part of the U.S. Sugar family and complement sugarcane operations. A focus on hard work, integrity, high quality and continuous improvement makes us one of America’s premier, privately held agribusinesses with the largest farming operations east of the Mississippi.

With state-of-the-art technology for both sugar manufacturing and citrus processing, U.S. Sugar practices the most efficient and progressive farming techniques available in the world. Vertical integration of its farming, processing and packaging operations makes U.S. Sugar competitive while meeting the highest standards for worker safety, food quality and environmental protection. Headquartered in Clewiston, the company farms more than 245,000 acres in Hendry, Glades, Palm Beach and Martin counties and operates a state-of-the-art citrus nursery in Gilchrist County. U.S. Sugar has approximately 2,500 employees at the height of harvest season.



Employees honored during annual awards event

US Sugar winners 2016 cropped
U.S. Sugar President and CEO Bob Buker, second from left, congratulates the 2016 Citizens of the Year winners: Jose Medina, Colin Ricketts and Jerry Thicklin, from left to right.

Clewiston, Fla. – U.S. Sugar honored its employees for their hard work and dedication during its 2016 Annual Rewards & Recognition Program held Jan. 10 at Dunwody Lodge. President and CEO Bob Buker and the senior leadership team delivered awards to employees who demonstrated extraordinary excellence and thanked for them for their contributions. Here are the 2016 winners:

Citizen of the Year – In addition to receiving monetary awards, the winners received donations to their favorite charity in recognition of their outstanding service to the community.
1st place – Colin Ricketts, a Quality Assurance Technician for sugarcane operations, who is also an ordained minister providing spiritual support in Glades, Hendry and Palm Beach counties. He has been with U.S. Sugar for 47 years. His benefiting charity is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
2nd place – Jerry Thicklin, a 2 1/2-year employee who works as an Equipment Specialist for sugarcane operations. He mentors young men ages 9 to 17 in the Harlem community, helping them gain confidence and interpersonal skills needed to become successful adults. He also coaches sports. His benefiting charity is the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Beach County.
3rd place – Jose Medina, a journeyman who has been with the company for 14 years. He volunteers for several causes, including Locks of Love, for which he grows his hair out all year and donates it to make wigs for cancer patients, and the American Cancer Society. His benefiting charity is Locks of Love.

President’s Award
Roy Clark, an Equipment Specialist for sugarcane operations and 38-year U.S. Sugar employee. Over the years, he has learned to operate every piece of equipment used in farming operations and is considered a top trainer for new employees.
Victor Garcia and Oriol Emmanuel, Processing Team Leaders for Southern Garden Citrus. Garcia has been with the company for 24 years; Emmanuel has been for 1 1/2 years. Both served as captains for SWEAT (Summer Wellness Event Activity Teams) to encourage health and fitness.

Safety Champion of the Year
1st place – Leosbet Gonzalez Borrego
2nd place – Christopher McGee, Raymond Sandoval, Dwayne Martin, Danny Bryant and Kevin Koebert
3rd place – Sean Miller, William Eyman, Juan “Miguel” Bruno, Joshua Moore and Jose Aragus

Innovator of the Year
1st place – Lee Davis, Ezequiel Esparza and Alphonso Lyman
2nd place – Brett Sawyer
3rd place – Robert Thompson

Team Member of the Year
1st place – Aucencio Aldape
2nd place – Christy Hernandez
3rd place – Willio Francois

Leader of the Year
1st place – Barrington Bedward
2nd place – Dave Goodwin
3rd place – Fitzroy Douglas

U.S. Sugar Donates Holiday Turkeys

turkey-photoThousands of families will enjoy turkey this holiday season thanks to donations from U.S. Sugar.

Throughout the month of December, U.S. Sugar donated 3,000 turkeys to area food banks and charities, as well as to employees, police officers, sheriff’s officials, county commissioners and school board members.

On Dec. 21, volunteers from the Treasure Coast Builders Association and U.S. Sugar took part in the “Great Turkey Giveaway” at Molly’s House in Stuart, which provides a warm, caring environment for patients and their families during a medical crisis. During the event, volunteers distributed 200 turkeys to several area organizations, including the Jensen Beach Christian Church, Love and Hope in Action, Habitat for Humanity, Project L.I.F.T. (Life Initiatives for Teens) and Molly’s House.

“This truly brings joy to the families at Molly’s House who are going through a medical crisis. We are grateful to be able to share the generous donation from U.S. Sugar with more people in the community and spread some cheer,” said Molly’s House CEO Bill West.

Click below to watch this news story on WPBF Ch. 25 in West Palm Beach.


Clewiston Sugar Festival Announces Star-Studded Musical Lineup

Trace Adkins
Trace Adkins

CLEWISTON, Fla. (Dec. 1, 2016) – The Clewiston Sugar Festival has announced country music star Trace Adkins will headline the 2017 festival, a free, family-friendly event held annually in America’s sweetest town. Adkins will be joined by other musical guests Tracy Lawrence, Parmalee, Runaway June and JJ McCoy.

The daylong event will be held Saturday, March 18, at Civic Park, on U.S. Hwy 27 in Clewiston. Admission to the event and musical performances is free.

Now in its 31st year, the Clewiston Sugar Festival celebrates the region’s annual sugarcane harvest and the importance of sugarcane in Glades-area communities and Florida’s agricultural industry. The presenting sponsor is U.S. Sugar, a Florida pioneer in the sustainable farming and processing of sugarcane, citrus and sweet corn.

“We’re really excited about this year’s lineup and look forward to celebrating our sugarcane harvest season with the entire community,’’ said Judy Sanchez, senior director of corporate communications and public affairs for U.S. Sugar. “We work hard all year round to bring in top musical talent that all ages can enjoy.’’

Adkins is best known for his hit songs You’re Gonna Miss This, Ladies Love Country Boys, Songs About Me, and many others. He also has appeared on TV shows, including NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. Lawrence has produced several No. 1 country music hits, such as Sticks and Stones, Alibis and Can’t Break it to My Heart.

The Clewiston Sugar Festival will feature a variety of delicious food vendors, arts and craft booths, an antique car show, tractor displays and a kids’ park with games and inflatable jump houses.

“We’re thrilled to welcome such big names and encourage everyone to mark their calendars and come to Clewiston on March 18th,’’ said Hillary Hyslope, executive director of the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce, which is helping to organize the event. “This is our time to shine and show the world why Clewiston is the sweetest town in America.’’

This year’s musical lineup builds on the success of last year’s festival, which included performances by Gary Allan, Chase Bryant and Eric Paslay. Over the years, the Clewiston Sugar Festival has hosted many up-and-coming artists who have gone on to become some of country music’s biggest names, including Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, Brantley Gilbert and Miranda Lambert.

For more information about the Clewiston Sugar Festival, visit our Sugar Festival page on Facebook.

Golf Tourney Benefits Student Scholarships

Jude Kurtz, Billy Dyess, Dave Jackson and Arnold Moore, from left to right, represented U.S. Sugar in the Palm Beach Atlantic University Alumni Association's 29th Annual Golf Tournament
Jude Kurtz, Billy Dyess, Dave Jackson and Arnold Moore, from left to right, represented U.S. Sugar in the Palm Beach Atlantic University Alumni Association’s 29th Annual Golf Tournament.

U.S. Sugar employees took part in the Palm Beach Atlantic University Alumni Association’s 29th Annual Golf Tournament benefitting student scholarships.

U.S. Sugar’s foursome – Billy Dyess, Dave Jackson, Jude Kurtz and Arnold Moore – finished first in the Fazio Course in the fundraiser held Oct. 15 at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens.

Sponsorships and proceeds from the tournament went toward awarding 49 student scholarships this year.

“Palm Beach Atlantic University puts on a great tournament to provide scholarships to students attending the school,” Jackson said. “It was a pleasure for us to play in the tournament and represent U.S. Sugar.”

Golfers Hit the Fairways for a Good Cause


Emily Kurtz, Ashly Sergent, Velma Alvarado and Ann Marie Pilling cruise the fairway in between holes.
Emily Kurtz, Ashly Sergent, Velma Alvarado and Ann Marie Pilling cruise the fairway during the employee golf tournament benefiting the S.A.F.E. fund.


About 36 teams from U.S. Sugar, Southern Gardens Citrus and the South Central Florida Express took part in the fourth annual employee golf tournament to raise money for co-workers in need through the S.A.F.E. (Support A Fellow Employee) fund.

The event was held Sept. 17 at the Clewiston Country Club, which recently renovated its greens, and included lunch served by students in Future Farmers of America. Golfers won door prizes and took part in raffles for clubs, a YETI cooler, gift cards and other prizes.

“It was a birdie kind of day,” said Ashly Sergent, human resources director for U.S. Sugar. “We were able to spend time with co-workers outside of work while raising money for a cause that’s near and dear to us.” 

Through raffle proceeds and sponsorships, the event raised $3,100 for the S.A.F.E. fund. The winning golfers of the day were Tommy Spears, Trinidad Reyes and Tim Burke, Sr.

Shown at top: Bruce Gilde, Timmy Hough, Mike Lee, Jason Lowe, Jason Williams and Michael Sparks.



Red Cross Installs Smoke Alarms in South Bay through Partnership with U.S. Sugar

Members of the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and volunteers with the Red Cross and Southern Gardens Citrus installed smoke alarms free of charge in homes in South Bay on July 16. Isabel Perez (pink shirt) and Bereniz Bogardus (in olive green shirt) volunteered from Southern Gardens Citrus.


SOUTH BAY, Fla. – The Palm Beach & Martin County Chapter of the American Red Cross installed about 70 smoke alarms in South Bay on July 16 as part of its Home Fire Preparedness Campaign supported by U.S. Sugar.

Members of the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and volunteers with the Red Cross and Southern Gardens Citrus, which is part of U.S. Sugar, installed the smoke alarms free of charge to help protect residents against home fires.

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign aims to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next few years.

“U.S. Sugar is helping us to save lives. This is the second time this year we have been able to help the residents of South Bay and that is due in large part, to the support of this initiative by U.S. Sugar.  We know smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a fire in half,” said Robin Nunley, Executive Director for Greater Palm Beach & Martin County Red Cross Chapter. “It’s so important for every household to have working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan, and programs like this help prepare these families.”

Now in its second year, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign involves Red Cross workers and volunteers who go door-to-door in at-risk communities to install smoke alarms and teach families about home fire prevention.  The program extends to homes throughout Belle Glade, Golden Gate, Hobe Sound, Pahokee and South Bay in Palm Beach and Martin counties.