959669 Ontario Inc. operating as Fairwind Farms was incorporated in 1992 as part of the succession plan of the Lumley Family.

Reg Lumley (pictured, left) founder of the company began farming in 1960 after retiring as a process operator at Dupont, in chemical valley. He operated a small farming operation based on pork production and cash crops. He built relationships with landowners as a tenant farmer, and purchased land as it became available.

Reg’s son Mark (pictured, right) currently the Chief of Operations of the company and managing shareholder, began his working career in the music industry. After graduating with degrees in Music and Education, (B.Mus Hons, B.Ed) Mark was a high school music teacher until he retired in 2000 and took over the operations of the farm.

History of Sugarbeet Production in Ontario

Sugar beet farming has a history in Ontario. Sugar beets were grown in Ontario between 1902 and 1968. From 1916, Ontario sugar beet farmers were able to refine their beets at a Redpath refinery in Chatham, Ontario. Sugar beet farming ended in 1968 when Tate & Lyle bought the Chatham plant from Redpath, which it currently owns, and immediately closed its operations.  Sugar beet farming subsequently re-appeared in Southwestern Ontario, after a nearly thirty year absence, when Michigan Sugar Company approached Ontario farmers in the mid-1990s to offer its refining facilities.

  • The Ontario Sugarbeet Growers’ Association (OSGA) was formed under the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act shortly after the reappearance of the Ontario sugar beet industry in 1997. Membership in the OSGA consists exclusively of Ontario sugar beet growers and all Ontario sugar beet growers are members of the OSGA. The objectives of the OSGA include promoting profitable sugar beet production in Ontario and acting as a spokesperson for present and future Ontario sugar beet producers.
  • The re-introduction of sugar beet farming occurred with a high degree of public and governmental support, and both the federal and provincial levels of government continue to support sugar beet farming in Southwestern Ontario. A total of $17,199.27 was provided to the OSGA in 2009 by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s “Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program”.
  • The Ontario provincial government has also provided support the sugar beet farming industry.  A total of $752,000 in matching funds was provided to sugar beet growers in 2002 under the Rural Economic Development Program funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This funding was used to purchase equipment, expand piling yards and introduce European piling practices.  An additional $5,581.38 was provided to the OSGA by the Ontario Research and Development Program that is funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs in 2009.  This support accords with the longstanding “Foodland Ontario” program which seeks to maximize the production and consumption of Ontario-produced food and agriculture products.
      • Michigan Sugar Company
  • In 2002, Ontario sugar beet growers joined their U.S. counterparts in Michigan and purchased Michigan Sugar Company. Michigan Sugar Company is now a sugar beet processing cooperative that is wholly owned by Ontario and Michigan sugar beet growers.  The shares of Michigan Sugar Company are held by the 91 Ontario sugar beet growers and 900 sugar beet growers in Michigan.  Accordingly, when the Michigan Sugar Company sells refined sugar, it does so on behalf of all of its cooperative members. 
  • One share in the Michigan Sugar Company represents the right and obligation to plant (and contribute) one acre of sugar beets. The total amount of Michigan Sugar Company shares represents the total acreage planted to sugar beets (this equates to approximately 160,000 acres, 10,000 of which are in Ontario). Having a set number of acres guarantees a supply of sugar beets for refinery throughput and allows for reliable estimations of the yield of sugar beets in a given year.
      • Michigan Sugar (Canada) Limited
  • Michigan Sugar (Canada) Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Michigan Sugar Company. The company maintains the central storage facility for sugar beets and arranges transport of the beets to the Michigan Sugar Company refinery in Croswell, Michigan. Michigan Sugar (Canada) Limited would be the sole importer of record for refined sugar imported under the Proposed Remission.
      1. Overview of Sugar Beet Production  
  • Harvesting and refining sugar beets presents particular challenges when compared to other cash crops. As opposed to corn or soybeans, sugar beets are live plants, harvested midway through their biannual development. This feature of sugar beet production has two important consequences. First, sugar beets cannot be stored for long periods of time because it will result in sucrose deterioration. Second, sugar beets, once harvested, are 80% water, bulky and heavy.  This translates into geographical restrictions in terms of where sugar beets can feasibly be cultivated and processed; sugar beets must be transported to refining facilities quickly and the cost of transporting sugar beets is very high. Sugar beets can therefore only be farmed in close proximity to refineries (failing which the high transportation costs would eliminate profits).
  • All sugar beet farming in Ontario is located in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and Lambton County in Southwestern Ontario due to their proximity to the refining plant in Croswell, Michigan. If the Croswell refinery closed down, the Ontario sugar beet farming would cease because no there is other beet sugar refinery that is sufficiently proximate to the Southwestern Ontario sugar beet farming areas to permit economically viable refining operations. There are no sugar beet refining facilities in Canada except one located in Taber, Alberta, too distant to offer cost effective refining services to Ontario sugar beet growers. In addition, the total volume of sugar beets produced in Ontario is not sufficient to permit a refinery in southern Ontario to operate profitably.
  • The sugar beet harvest occurs in October and early November. Sugar beets are harvested by growers and transported, at the grower’s expense, to a central, specialized piling yard in Dover Township, Ontario, which is strategically located amongst Southwestern Ontario growers. Once the sugar beets are delivered to the central piling yard operated by Michigan Sugar (Canada) Ltd., the sugar beets are transported to the refinery in Croswell, Michigan.