Clean Air Update: Government, Private Data Shows Glades Air Quality Remains Among Best in State

Clewiston, FL – The people of U.S. Sugar again are making the latest “Clean Air” update available to their community–showing public and private data from 2021 to 2022 confirming that the Glades’ air quality remains good year-round and better than in congested coastal areas. “Our farmers are committed to clean air and clean water while growing food crops millions of American families depend on every year,” said Judy Sanchez, Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for U.S. Sugar. “Our latest air update shows our community that not only is our air safe and clean every day, but it also remains cleaner than other areas of the state of Florida.”

In the midst of its 92nd harvest season, U.S. Sugar is committed to providing its neighbors and friends science and fact-based information about its farming operations. Our region is one of the most heavily monitored areas with a number of public and private monitoring sources showing the Glades farming communities enjoyed air quality in the “Good” range – the range with the best air quality according to EPA standards – in 306 out of the 324 days of monitoring in the Glades (days covered in this report). Of the 18 days in the very low range of “Moderate” readings, 11 readings were taken between June and September, which is after the harvest season was completed.

Summary & Key Findings of “Clean Air Update”:
· Glades air is consistently good year-round

· Our air quality at 6.45 PM2.5 for the 2021-2022 harvest season was better than year round at 6.6 PM2.5

· Our air quality is the same or better than on the urban coast

· The class-action lawsuit pushed by outside special interests was dropped after they failed to provide any evidence to legitimately challenge the air monitoring data from our community

· During the 2021-2022 Harvest Season there was no significant uptick in visits to local emergency rooms (Source:

· Saharan dust, particularly during the summer months, notably affects overall air quality throughout South Florida

This update is a continuation of our ongoing conversations with our neighbors about U.S. Sugar’s commitment to helping keep the farming communities where we work, play, and raise our families clean, safe, and healthy. U.S. Sugar is proud to reaffirm that commitment in releasing the information included in this report.

For more information and to read this and last year’s report, please visit:

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.

Ten Interesting Things About U.S. Sugar I Learned This Harvest Season

Ryan Duffy

Recently, the people of U.S. Sugar, our farmers and our 34 independent growers finished the Company’s 90th consecutive harvest. Every year I’m with the company, I am even more amazed at the new and interesting things I learn. This past year was no exception.  And I want to share my “on the job” learning experience through my time hosting tours, gathering content for our social media channels and interacting with my co-workers.

Here’s ten of the most interesting things I learned about U.S. Sugar:

  1. Our farmers are using technology similar to Uber to increase sustainability and efficiency in the sugarcane harvest. A few years ago, we began developing/implementing a technology using location-based beacon solutions to link tractors hauling wagons to cane harvesters waiting in the field. The technology has helped reduce the distance traveled and wait times, which decreases fuel use and increases overall harvest efficiency.
  1. It sometimes get extremely cold in South Florida, and that’s not a good thing for farming.  In late January, we experienced two consecutive nights of below-freezing temperatures in our farming region. The first night, it was windy enough to keep the frost/freeze from settling on much of the crop. Unfortunately, the wind died down the second night, and we experienced major negative impacts including widespread freeze-burned cane and damaged vegetables. Farms south of Lake Okeechobee generally enjoy favorable weather year-round, but the freeze this year was the worst in more than a decade.
Area Manager Rusty Hyslope surveys freeze damage to a field of green beans on the morning after one of the worst freezes in South Florida in over a decade.
  1. We hire many graduates from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia. I am an alumnus of Florida State University (Go Noles!) and I work with quite a few Gators, Hurricanes, UCF Knights and FGCU Eagles, but ABAC in Tifton, GA is one of the schools that seems to produce the most U.S. Sugar employees. Many employees in our agriculture department are from ABAC, working in everything from production supervision, and harvest technology implementation to research & development. In May, we hosted faculty from ABAC and the tour was led entirely by our ABAC graduates and current interns.
Production Supervisor Jarad Plair (ABAC alum) and Communications Director Ryan Duffy discuss U.S. Sugar’s state-of-the-art harvesting technology with ABAC faculty members during May tour.
  1. Our internal railroad system keeps 2,000 tractor-trailers off the road every day. U.S. Sugar is unique in that we transport all of our sugarcane from our fields to the mill via private railroad–nonstop during the harvest season (from October to May). One railcar can haul up to 40,000 tons of sugarcane, or the equivalent of two tractor trailers. Fewer trucks on the road means less congestion in our communities and reduced fuel consumption and less greenhouse gas emissions.
  1. U.S. Sugar grows a whole lot more than sugarcane. This past year, U.S. Sugar and our family of farmers grew more than a dozen different types of fruit and vegetables. Our company grows green beans and sweet corn in rotation with sugarcane, and our 34 independent farmers grow many other food crops such as such as citrus, kale, radishes, romaine lettuce, rice, celery and many other crops. All of this produce is packaged locally in the Glades, shipped and sold in the produce sections of grocery stores throughout the Eastern Seaboard every winter and spring. We help feed up to 180 million Americans every year!
  1. Clean water is an important part of our business. The Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA for short), where many of our farms are located, is the only farming area in the United States with a requirement to reduce phosphorus by 25 percent annually. Our farmers along with other growers in the EAA have shattered that target by achieving a 55 percent annual average reduction over the past 26 years. It’s a major source of pride for our farmers, who are on the front lines of Everglades restoration in our state’s efforts to send cleaner water to the River of Grass.
  1. We host thousands of people on Raisin’ Cane tours of our farms every year. One of the best ways to teach people about agriculture is to get them out on our farms and show them what we do. This past year, we had approximately 6,000 people from coastal regions and our own communities come to our farming region to learn about our sustainable agricultural practices and the food we produce. If you are interested in booking a future tour, please contact the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce.
  1. U.S. Sugar is a family, and many family members work together. At both our factory and in our fields, U.S. Sugar employs many father-son or mother-daughter combinations. It’s not uncommon to hear about employees who have worked with their parents and even grandparents as generations of families choose to work for the Company. Every year, our CEO Robert H. Buker, Jr. recognizes employees for their decades of service, including some that have worked for the company for 30, 40, and even 50 years!
  1. U.S. Sugar has many superlatives when it comes to technology. Due to the size and scale of our farming operation, U.S. Sugar is home to the world’s largest private mesh Wi-Fi network (which spans 200 square miles across our farms) and one of the largest fleets of connected John Deere tractors and harvesters anywhere. We are also one of the largest producers of data in all of American agriculture, and one of the largest users of auto steer GPS guidance on farms anywhere in the world. Precision agriculture plays an integral role in our ability to safely and reliably produce food in a sustainable way.
  1. Bagasse has many uses outside of powering U.S. Sugar’s factory. We have highlighted the sustainability of bagasse – sugarcane fiber – in powering our factory and providing surplus power for up to 25,000 homes annually, but it is increasingly used in making every day household products more affordable and environmentally friendly. Sugarcane is playing an important role in the plant-based product movement. You can now purchase everything from straws, to sandals and even LEGOs sustainably made from sugarcane-based materials.

After getting some much-needed rest this summer, our employees will be back hard at work as we begin our 91st harvest starting in October. We will be happy to share more interesting facts and information about our farming and processing operations. Make sure you’re following U.S. Sugar on TwitterFacebook and Tik Tok.

Ryan Duffy