Sugar producers’ biggest concerns heading into 2018 revolve around the Farm Bill and trade – specifically keeping America’s no-cost sugar policy strong and making sure heavily subsidized foreign sugar industries don’t bankrupt U.S. farms and businesses.
It’s no surprise, then, that the sugar farmers who heard President Donald Trump speak at this week’s Farm Bureau convention were impressed.
“Our farmers deserve a government that serves their interest and empowers them to do the hard work that they love to do so much,” the President told a cheering crowd of nearly 5,000.
And part of what he promised was a strong farm safety net that will help growers deal with falling commodity prices, weather disasters, and other challenges outside their control.
“I’m looking forward to working with Congress to pass the Farm Bill on time so that it delivers for all of you,” he said. “We are working hard on the Farm Bill, and I think it’s going to go well.”
Galen Lee, a sugarbeet farmer from New Plymouth, Idaho, attended the speech.
“It’s obvious that the President appreciates America’s farmers and ranchers and wants to do everything in his power to help us succeed and to help rural America rebuild,” said Lee, who is president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.
Improving rural broadband availability, rolling back onerous government regulations, and the recently passed tax package were among the other topics on which the President spoke.
Ryan Weston, who represents sugarcane producers from Florida and Texas, was in Nashville for the event and said that these types of investments are sorely needed to keep American agriculture competitive in a global market that is grossly distorted by foreign subsidies and trade barriers.
On trade, President Trump told the group, “We are reviewing all of our trade agreements to make sure they are fair and reciprocal.”
And that was music to the ears of Neil Rockstad, a sugarbeet grower from Hendrum, Minnesota.
“America’s sugar farmers have been asked to take a backseat to subsidized foreign sugar industries for too long,” he said. “That’s hurt our price and led to the closure of numerous sugar mills and farms. It’s refreshing to have a leader in the White House who insists that trade be both free and fair to America’s farmers.”
President Trump’s support for rural America shouldn’t come as a surprise. He knows how important agriculture is to America’s economy, security, and moral fabric.
“We are witnessing a new era of patriotism, prosperity, and pride,” he concluded. “And at the forefront of this exciting new chapter is the great American farmer.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Red River Valley sugarbeet advocate say he's confident domestic sugar producers can convince Congress to reject yet another attempt to dismantle the U.S. sugar program.
The Sugar Policy Modernization Act proposal is different than previous attacks in that it is a "comprehensive dismantling of sugar policy," said Kevin Price, director of governmental affairs for American Crystal Sugar Co., who lobbies on behalf of the Moorhead, Minn., based beet cooperative.
Price likened the difference to that of a shotgun blast, rather than the rifle shots of the past that have addressed pieces of the policy. "They're trying to tear it down from A to Z," Price said. "We've seen all of these ideas before. None of them have been accepted by Congress, and we anticipate Congress will reject this as well."
U.S. sugar policy supports domestic production by limiting imports of sugar that domestic producers say are often subsidized by foreign governments.
The Sweetener Users Association applauded the act and its sponsors Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Danny Davis, D-Ill.; and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. "The legislation has already been endorsed by dozens of cosponsors in the House and Senate," the SUA said.
Does it all
The sugar users — all customers of American Crystal and its marketing arm — said the act "does it all" and would "help American businesses of all sizes, consumers, workers and families — without costing taxpayers."
"It is very rare that Congress has the chance to consider legislation that will do so much for so many," said Rick Pasco, president of the SUA. The act "reforms unnecessary sugar regulations" and ensures that companies can "access sugar when they need it." By assuring "access to reasonable supplies" the bill "will encourage companies to continue manufacturing food and beverages in the United States, not offshore."
The SUA cited a Commerce Department study that said three U.S. manufacturing jobs are lost for "every sugar-related job" preserved by current sugar "subsidies."
"The bill leaves in place smart protections to ensure the sugar market operates freely without unnecessary government intrusion — and without costs to taxpayers," the SUA said.
The SUA described sugar as "the most tightly controlled commodity in the United States" and the "only commodity not reformed by Congress in the 2014 farm bill." They contend that the current policy forces American consumers to pay "up to $3 billion a year to subsidize very profitable U.S. sugar processors."
Price thinks the logic that will defeat the bill is the knowledge that the current policy supplies reasonably priced sugar of trustworthy supply, supports jobs and at zero cost to the taxpayer.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Price said.
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November 14, 2017 at 04:30PM
via Sugar exports March 28, 2017 at 07:42AM
U.S. Sugar Policy Projected to Cost Taxpayers $0 through 2027
The String of Zeroes ContinuesSeptember 30 marked the end of the 2016 fiscal year, and with it, yet another 12-month period that U.S. sugar policy operated at no cost to the American taxpayer. And, as we are one-third of the way through with FY2017, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) signaled its expectation that sugar's recent run of zeroes will continue.