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Neighbors: Andrews' rewrite of Sugar Act benefited beet farmers

Mark and Mary Andrews as seen at Bethany Retirement Living in south Fargo. Forum file photo1 / 2
Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist2 / 2

Last year, Neighbors told of former North Dakota representative and senator Mark Andrews and his wife Mary spending their retirement years in Bethany Retirement Living, Fargo.

As a congressman, Mark was involved in many congressional actions over the years. But there's one piece of legislation he is especially proud of; rewriting the Sugar Act.

Sugar beet farmers didn't fare well when the original act was written, Mark says, "So when I was senator, I rewrote it."

There was opposition to his rewrite, primarily from anti-sugar groups. "But we got it passed," he says.

Yes, it benefited him, as he was a sugar beet farmer himself, from near Mapleton. "In fact, I maybe was the only sugar beet farmer in Congress," he says.

He doesn't go into detail of how he rewrote the act, but he says sugar beet farmers everywhere benefited from his rewrite. How?

"The value of a sugar beet contract went from $500 an acre to $2,500 an acre in three years," he says proudly.

"And," he says, "it's still the law of the land."

Things do change

Mark says he and Mary are getting along fine in their retirement, although he needs a walker in order to get around, and Mary needs physical assistance.

For Mary in particular, it's difficult to move about . And this has led to some surprises for her. For instance, she hadn't been in a grocery store for 10 years.

Then one day recently, someone helped her get to one. Wow.

"She was amazed at how modernized it had become in 10 years!" Mark says.

You can about imagine.

Not the same guy

One last thing.

You football fans may have noticed that in the National Football League draft this spring, in which professional teams draft college players, Baltimore drafted a player from the University of Oklahoma named Mark Andrews.

Well, unless North Dakota's Mark Andrews has gone back to college and taken up football, Neighbors doesn't think this is the same guy.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 241-5487 or email