2018 is going to be a good year for sugarbeet growers. With the amended Mexican antidumping and countervailing duty suspension agreements going into effect last October, the beet crop going into the ground this spring will fully benefit from the price recovery provided by the amended agreements. Yes, there is and always will be work to defend and maintain the suspension agreements and make sure that Mexico complies with the provisions, but it is in the interest of both governments and industries that these agreements work as they were intended. These agreements will manage sugar imports from Mexico so there is no need for any discussions with Mexico regarding sugar in the NAFTA negotiations. What everyone must also realize is that USDA needs the best production and consumption data available to determine how much additional sugar is needed from Mexico or other quota-holding countries. Working with USDA to get that critical information is very important so they do not make decisions that oversupply the U.S. sugar market with imports. This is a very high priority for our industry.
There is a flurry of activities in Washington this summer that will impact the beet sugar industry in the months and years ahead. Here are a few of them.
2016 Elections: The election of Donald Trump went against the conventional wisdom of pundits and the general public, and sent political shockwaves across the country and around the world. In the early morning of November 9, America experienced perhaps the greatest electoral upset in its history and tried to peer through the dense fog of uncertainty. The democratic process is not pretty or easy – it wasn’t meant to be. Many voters in both parties wished that they had been given the choice of different presidential candidates, but the long primary schedule provided ample time and opportunity to sort through that process. For those who have lingering anxiety and are seeking comfort, google the lyrics of the singer-songwriter Steven Stills-- “And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.” The fact is that we have a new President-elect, and we must get behind him.
Luther Markwart, author of Dateline Washington, is executive vice president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.