Natural Sweetener Producer Sweet Green Fields Expands U.S. Stevia Crop Production to Southeastern States

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Move Marks First Ever Commercial Stevia Crops for Georgia and North Carolina; Welcomed by Commissioners of Agriculture for Paving Way for Promising Agricultural Opportunities

BELLINGHAM, WA, Apr 26, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Sweet Green Fields, a leading US-based global producer of high purity stevia extracts, today announced the expansion of its stevia crop production to the Southeast United States, with crop plantings in Georgia and North Carolina. This development marks another major operational expansion for Sweet Green Fields as part of its commitment to develop its stevia crops here in the U.S., as part of its global production plan.

"We are investing heavily in our American grown crops and linking our advanced agriculture practices with our industry leading plant research in order to create stevia products that are competitive on a global level, while being grown right in our own backyard," commented Hal Teegarden, Vice President of Agricultural Operations for Sweet Green Fields. "We believe we have one of the most extensive stevia research portfolios and through our scientific innovations in plant breeding, growing and harvesting, as well as extraction processes, we achieve consistently high yields of sweetener product per plant, while maintaining industry leading quality standards."

This expansion also marks the first ever commercial stevia crops to be planted in the states of Georgia and North Carolina. It is supported by both the Georgia Department of Agriculture and North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and is seen as an opportunity to pave the way for future economic development in the regions as the demand for wholesome all natural sweetening solutions intensifies among food and beverage companies around the world.

"Agriculture is Georgia's number one industry and we are always excited about the prospect of new and alternative crop opportunities in our state," said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. "With the ideal soil and climate conditions in Georgia, Sweet Green Fields has seen the potential for stevia to prosper as a new crop in the rotational system. We welcome their expansion here and look forward to working with them throughout the seasons to come."

In Georgia, Sweet Green Fields is currently in the process of transplanting this year's crop, and in North Carolina, Sweet Green Fields' stevia crops are slated to be planted within the coming weeks.

"The entry of stevia crops into North Carolina represents an opportunity to expand agribusiness in our state and help advance local economic growth," said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "The stevia industry is still relatively young, but we are excited to be at the forefront of this industry and we look forward to working with Sweet Green Fields as the crop expands in North Carolina."

Sweet Green Fields is known for its industry-leading plant research and agriculture practices, and already has successful commercial crops in the state of California, as well as globally. The company will continue to leverage its technologies and relationship with growers as an agricultural leader with a strong commitment to FAO Good Agricultural Principles and Practices to ensure that a high quality supply of sustainably produced stevia is available to meet the demands of its global customers.

For more information, visit www.sweetgreenfields.com .

About Sweet Green Fields Sweet Green Fields (SGF) is the leading US producer of sweeteners derived from stevia, including high-purity stevia extracts and Rebaudioside-A. With a vertically integrated supply chain from seed to final sweetener operating in three continents, SGF markets natural sweeteners globally to food and beverage companies. SGF also provides formulation assistance with its line of sweeteners. The company has formulated reduced sugar applications in beverages, dairy, baking, and confectionary. www.sweetgreenfields.com

About Stevia and Stevia Extracts Stevia is a plant of the Asteraceae (sunflower) family whose leaves have been used as a sweetener in South America for hundreds of years. Stevia extracts are the first all-natural, zero calorie high intensity sweetener that deliver on key food and beverage formulation metrics: zero calories, low Glycemic index, heat stable, pH stable, shelf stable, non GMO, Kosher and Halal and cost competitive on a sucrose equivalency sweetening unit.

Source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/natural-sweetener-producer-sweet-green-fields-expands-us-stevia-crop-production-to-southeastern-states-2012-04-26