Fifty-seven sugar factories have closed since the 1980s due to low prices, contributing to the loss of 100,000 sugar jobs. In fact, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics stopped tracking “sugar manufacturing” as a job category in 2008 due to the industry’s shrinking size.
Thankfully, there are still 142,000 hardworking men and women employed by sugar across 22 states. And the salaries and benefits associated with those sugar jobs pump more than $4.2 billion a year into both rural and urban communities where job opportunities might otherwise be limited, and generate nearly $20 billion in total economic activity each year.
Protecting sugar jobs – many of which are union jobs – and maintaining a strong U.S. sugar policy is the primary message being delivered by dozens of sugarbeet and sugarcane farmers this week on Capitol Hill.
Similar messages were shared by sugar workers across the country as part of theFaces of Sugar Policy campaign:
“It would be hard for me to imagine what this community would be like without sugar. The number of jobs that people would no longer have.”
– Tracy Bentley, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
“These kinds of jobs are very important to Baltimore and middle-income families. I recommend keeping it going because you want to keep the middle class, the middle class.”
– John Godleski, Baltimore, Maryland
“People stay here. They retire here… I think it means a lot for the community and the company itself, too. It’s a really nice partnership between the company and the community.”
– Walter Aucaylle, Yonkers, New York
The American sugar industry is working hard to maintain high-paying jobs in the United States. We are thankful that Congress recognized the economic importance of our homegrown sugar industry and overwhelmingly supported passage of a strong sugar policy in the 2018 Farm Bill.
The bottom line: supporting our successful sugar policy means protecting good American jobs and the communities that rely on them. That’s something worth fighting for.