The McGinnis Institute of Beet Sugar Technology (MIBST) was named after Richard A. McGinnis, a chemist from Spreckels Sugar, who directed the schools for 15 years, beginning with the Beet End and Sugar End Schools in 1972 and 1973, respectively. Agriculture School (a.k.a. “Beet School”) was added to MIBST in 1992. 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of Beet End and Sugar End Schools (Beet End School was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID) and the 30th anniversary of Beet School. MIBST now serves approximately 120 students annually.
Processing Schools: Beet End & Sugar End
The purpose of the Beet Sugar Processing Schools is to instruct beet sugar company employees and other technologists on the fundamentals and beyond of factory processes, their application to factory operations and the details of the practical operations of the unit processes. Beet End and Sugar End schools are held in Fort Collins, CO in June and July, respectively. Each course is two weeks long. Beet End school focuses on the process from the beet pile to thin juice, and Sugar End covers from the evaporator to packaging and storage of sugar. Major emphasis is given to the most used equipment and practices. The courses are designed to improve the student’s knowledge of the factory processes, increase value to the employer, and provide greater potential for advancement.
View the details for the current Beet Sugar Processing Schools.
William (Bill) Gough
Director of MIBST
Having grown up on a sugarbeet farm and involved in Future Farmers of America (FFA) in high school, Bill Gough has been involved in sugarbeet production, harvesting, storage, and processing his entire life. He raised sugarbeets for Michigan Sugar Company (Croswell factory) starting in the Carsonville High School FFA in the mid-1960’s and continued through the late-1980’s when he was promoted to Agricultural Manager for the Michigan Sugar Company, Carrollton District. As the Ag Manager, he was responsible for managing agriculturists, agricultural operations, beet transfers, and beet receiving stations located in Gratiot, Saginaw, Tuscola, Bay, Midland, Genesee, Shiawasee, Lenawee and Monroe counties in Michigan along with several Northern Ohio counties. Before that, he was an agriculturist for the Sebewaing District with growers in Huron and Tuscola counties. He became a grower-owner when Michigan Sugar transitioned into a cooperative in 2002. In 2003, Bill accepted the opportunity to become the Factory Manager for the Caro factory of Michigan Sugar Company. Bill has been a member of the ASSBT since becoming an Ag Manager. He has also been a lecturer for the MIBST since 2010. Bill graduated from Michigan Technological University with a degree in Biological Sciences and from Saginaw Valley State University with an MBA in Management. He is married with one son and two grandsons. After working for Michigan Sugar Company for 37 years, Bill and his wife, Christine, retired and have relocated to northern Michigan on the banks of the West Branch of the Muskegon River. He is enjoying life along the river, which includes watching the wildlife (deer, bears, and the occasional beaver and bobcat). He also enjoys hiking the miles of trails located on the thousands of acres of State and Federal lands in the area and RV camping with family and friends.
Beet (Ag) School
The Beet Sugar Agriculture School is sponsored and directed by the Beet Sugar Development Foundation on behalf of its Member Companies. It is a one-week school of agriculture technology and practice and is typically held the last week of July. The school location rotates annually among member companies. The purpose of the school is to enhance students’ knowledge of the basics of sugar beet production, physiology, pathology, weed science, seed pelleting, as well as the latest technology and practices. The course will highlight the local production area with a one-day field tour. In addition, the course may include a group project and/or discussion on relevant agriculture topics. Completion of the course will improve overall knowledge of sugar beet production, regional issues affecting agriculture, and networking among the beet sugar industry.
View the details for the current Beet (Ag) School.
Director of MISBT – Agricultural School
Anna Murphy is a Colorado native and has been working in agriculture research for over a decade. She graduated from Calvin College in 2009 with a major in biology and then went on to obtain a master’s degree in plant breeding and genetics with a focus on drought tolerance in wheat at Colorado State University. Since 2012, Murphy has taken on various roles within the beet sugar industry. She began as a sugar beet breeder for eight years, then transitioned to roles in product evaluation/management and supply management. Murphy joined the Beet Sugar Development Foundation (BSDF) and American Society of Sugar Beet Technologists (ASSBT) as Executive Vice President in January 2021. In her free time, Murphy enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling to new or familiar places, and trying new restaurants with her husband and three children.