John Snyder

The back of John Snyder’s business card reads, “We refresh the Earth through sustainable agriculture.” The Snyder family feels this slogan sums up their goal to leave something better than when they started.

“I believe our farm is better today than it was 42 years ago, and every day we work on making it better for tomorrow,” said Snyder, a fourth-generation sugar beet grower in Worland, Wyoming.

Snyder was born and raised near Worland on a farm established by his great-grandfather in 1914, where a strong faith and work ethic was instilled in him at a young age. Some of John’s early farming memories are of riding on an orange Gemco two-row beet lifter and picking mud off the chain before it went into the trucks.

“We had good years with abundant yields and challenging years with crop disasters. However even after droughts, floods, excessive heat or freezes, hailstorms or high winds, Jesus is always faithful to provide,” Snyder said. “He has placed us where we are, doing what we do, to serve Him. While we may not always see it at the time, His will is perfect.”

After high school, Snyder wasn’t sure if he would farm but knew he wanted a career in agriculture. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Wyoming and worked in the produce business in Texas for several years. He married his high school sweetheart Janet in 1979. The couple felt Wyoming would be the ideal place to raise their children and be close to family, so they returned to the Worland area in 1981.

Snyder’s father had sold most of the farm due to health issues, so Snyder joined Janet’s parents, Conrad and Alice Lass, and her brother Stan Lass in their farm operation, the Sage Creek Land and Cattle Company.

John and Janet have two sons, Jason and Steven, and five granddaughters. Jason and his family live in Texas, and Steven and his family farm with John, Janet, and Stan Lass. The Sage Creek Land and Cattle Company grows sugar beets, corn, malt barley for Coors Brewing Company and alfalfa hay on about 3,500 irrigated acres.

“Irrigation is a must here in the Big Horn Basin since we only get between 7 and 9 inches of moisture per year. After the beets are planted, irrigation begins,” Snyder said. “Our irrigation water is all surface water that comes mostly from the Wind River mountains 150 to the south of us. It is stored in Boysen Reservoir and diverted from the Bighorn River into six different canal systems.”


The Snyders have converted most of their irrigation from flood or furrow to center pivots where there is water savings and no surface run-off.

“We have also converted some of our irrigation pumps to variable frequency drive pumps to save on electric power demand,” Snyder said. “Soil moisture monitors are also utilized so we don’t over or under apply water.”

Snyder is currently a member of the Wyoming Sugar Company Board of Managers. He has sat on the board of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association (ASGA) since 2001 and served as its president from 2014 to 2016. He and Wyoming growers were the first in the world to successfully commercialize a biotech sugar crop. He also serves on a small task force of industry leaders to address critically important trade issues with Mexico.

For Snyder, the best part of the American sugar industry are the people he has met over his 41-year farming career.

“Sugar farmers and people who work for the American sugar industry are some of the most dedicated and hardworking people I know,” he said. “Get to know them. They are just good folks!”


Laura Rutherford

About the Author

Laura Rutherford graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2004 with a degree in Political Science. She is a shareholder in American Crystal Sugar Company and a member of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association (RRVSGA), the World Association of Beet and Cane Growers (WABCG), and the American Society of Sugarbeet Technologists. She is on the Board of Directors of the Sugar Industry Biotechnology Council and has published articles for the WABCG, the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association newsletter, and the British Sugarbeet Review magazine in Cambs, United Kingdom.

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