By Judy Clayton Sanchez, Senior Director for Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
One of our most popular methods of communicating with the public has been our “Raisin’ Cane Tours” that enabled our urban and suburban neighbors to come and see for themselves how we sustainably produce local food and protect the environment. Like you, the ongoing threat of Covid-19 has changed that as we’ve implemented a number of measures to protect our farmers and workers to prevent the spread of the virus and secure your food supply.
Unfortunately, that means there’s little opportunity for you to come and see us. So we’re bringing U.S. Sugar to you by launching a new blog, The Scoop. A sweet play on words since a scoop was an item historically used to dip or gather sugar from large bins as well as a journalism term for getting the “inside” story. This blog will offer both.
Sugar — the sweet stuff — and many of the issues that surround sugarcane farming and our rural communities will all be on the menu here. Week to week, these blog posts may be written by the different people and different functions within our farming and food processing operations. However, you’ll hear most often from our Communications Team (Ryan Duffy and me) and Community Relations Manager (Brannan Thomas). We’ll also draw from a wide pool of experts on the many facets of our operations as guest contributors. Our fantastic farmers and innovative IT folks who’ve always been heavily involved in our farm tours and outreach efforts have plenty of very cool stuff to share—such as our “Uber-like” GPS beacon application used in our sugarcane harvesting operations and tractors that beam back data via our private Wi-Fi network that covers more than 200,000 acres of sugarcane and vegetable farms—the largest of its kind anywhere.
One of this blog’s goals is for the public to learn more about the people of U.S. Sugar straight from the people of U.S. Sugar. Rather than rely on what other people or groups say about us, you get the scoop straight from us.
Right now, conquering the coronavirus is top of mind. As a food producer, our operations have been deemed “critical infrastructure” by the federal government and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The state of Florida also ranks farmers and food processing facilities and their people to be “essential workers” during this crisis. That means we’re still on the job, working hard to put fresh, safe food on American tables!
Americans can have faith that farmers are working around the clock to keep growing, harvesting and processing food for American families—while protecting our workers and our food supply. Farms are perfect for social distancing—think drivers in closed cabs on tractors & harvesters with Autosteer and GPS positioning. Laptops and cell phones share crop/harvest data. Our state-of-the-art food processing facilities are highly automated. Essential workers are provided safety masks, hand sanitizer and other personal protection equipment.
These precautions enable us to continue to harvest sugarcane, citrus, sweet corn, green beans and nearly a dozen other fresh fruits and vegetables on our farms—everything from broccoli, squash, and watermelons to peanuts, mustard and kale. Food crops that keep feeding America even, and maybe especially, during this crazy time.
As many markets for Florida’s bountiful crops are temporarily shut down (schools, hotels, entertainment venues and many shops and restaurants), we are donating tens of thousands of pounds of fresh food and orange juice & water, sugarcane-based hand sanitizer,, more than 20,000 N95 masks to our people, churches, nursing homes, local food pantries, post offices, first responders and healthcare heroes. Additionally, we also recently donated 6,000 crates of locally-grown sweet corn harvested by U.S. Sugar farmers to the people of Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Hendry, Glades, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties.
We are planning to have additional crates of sweet corn for the public again soon. Follow our social media accounts for updates.
Neighbors feeding neighbors. Neighbors helping neighbors.
Have a safe and sweet day!
Judy Clayton Sanchez
Judy Clayton Sanchez
Senior Director, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs
Ms. Sanchez is responsible for U. S. Sugar’s media, social media and public relations activities, and its public education/information programs. In addition, she coordinates all external and internal communications functions, acts as corporate spokesman and assists with the company’s public affairs and community relations efforts. As spokesman, Sanchez has conducted thousands of interviews, presentations, speeches and debates as well as television and radio appearances focused on U.S. Sugar’s role in agricultural, trade and environmental issues.
Sanchez is extremely knowledgeable on issues of importance to U. S. and Florida agriculture in general and Florida’s sugar industry in particular. As part of U.S. Sugar’s Public Affairs team, she is well-versed on trade, regulatory and environmental issues. Sanchez is currently serving her third term on the Agriculture Technical Advisory Committee for Trade (ATAC) in Sweeteners and Sweetener Products. She was re-appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U. S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer through June, 2023. Sanchez was first appointed by US Department of Agriculture Commissioner Tom Vilsack and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk to the ATAC on Sweeteners and served in this capacity from 2011-2015. This group advises both USDA and USTR on trade negotiations in regard to sugar and sweeteners. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau, and the Agriculture Communicators of Florida. Sanchez is a former member of the South Florida Water Management District Water Resources Advisory Commission (WRAC) and its subcommittee on Lake Okeechobee and the Lake Okeechobee Regional Economic (LORE) Alliance of Palm Beach County.
Sanchez attended the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communication and received a B.A. in Communications from Florida Atlantic University. She grew up in the heart of Florida’s sugarcane industry and has spent most of her life in and around sugarcane farming in Florida and Louisiana. She and her husband Julio reside in Belle Glade, Florida and have two grown sons and two young grandsons.
U.S. Sugar is an American farming company, producing food for American families since 1931. With state-of-the-art technology, U.S. Sugar practices the most sustainable, progressive and efficient farming techniques available in the world. Full, vertical integration of its farming, hi-tech processing and packaging operations makes U.S. Sugar competitive while meeting the highest standards for worker safety, food quality and environmental protection. With its headquarters in Clewiston, Florida, the Company farms over 230,000 acres of sugarcane, citrus, sweet corn, green beans and other fresh vegetables. The company also owns/operates both an internal railroad and an industrial short-line railroad. U.S. Sugar provides approximately 2500 jobs in the local communities.