FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Today, Neil Rockstad, a sugarbeet farmer from Ada, Minnesota, testified before the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade.
On behalf of the American Sugar Alliance, he thanked Chairwoman Tina Smith (D-MN) and Ranking Member Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) for listening to the needs of American producers as they craft the next Farm Bill.
Rockstad highlighted the strengths of the domestic sugar industry and reiterated the concern shared by all Title I commodities that the safety net needs to be updated to reflect the realities and conditions farmers are facing. “The safety net must be increased in this Farm Bill for long term stability to provide secure supplies for American consumers.”
As Senator Smith noted, farmers are “the center of our economy, our food system, and our national security.” This sentiment was echoed by other members of the committee and the farmers testifying. In addition, Rockstad reminded lawmakers that “Sugar was readily available on grocery store shelves throughout the pandemic. That success is attributable to U.S. sugar policy and the heroic efforts of our farmers and factory workers.”
“Many of the jobs and businesses generated and supported by the U.S. sugar industry are in rural areas and urban areas where good blue-collar jobs have become harder and harder to find. As an industry, we are proud to provide high-paying good jobs in our communities,” said Rockstad. “In my home state of Minnesota, the sugarbeet industry provides almost 21,000 jobs and has a $3.06 billion economic impact.” Sugarbeet farmers are proud to be a part of the $16 billion in value for Minnesota, which Senator Smith spoke about in her opening remarks.
As the committee considers how to write a Farm Bill that is tailored to meet the needs of American farmers, ranchers, and producers in every part of the country, Rockstad urged lawmakers to support the 11,000 American sugarbeet and sugarcane family farmers and the employees in our mills, processors, and refineries.
It bears repeating that “effective sugar policy, which maintains a strong domestic industry, is essential to the food security of our nation.”