Next week, sugar farmers from Florida to California will be trading in their coveralls and boots for ties and suits to meet with dozens of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They will be sharing an important message with Congress: foreign sugar subsidies distort the global market and hinder sustainability.
American sugar farmers and workers are proud to share the love by producing an affordable supply of homegrown sugar. But it’s heartbreaking that America’s sugar farmers and workers will receive just a small share of those sales.
The American Sugar Alliance recently hit the road, traveling from farm to factory to see sustainable sugar production in action. Along the way, we met farmers who care passionately about being good stewards of the land and workers who utilize cutting-edge manufacturing technology to produce high-quality American sugar.
Deep in the heart of Texas, approximately 112 farmers grow sugar cane across 41,000 acres along the banks of the Rio Grande river. These farmers and their farmer-owned cooperative, Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, are important members of the Rio Grande Valley community and a critical part of the Texan economy. Unfortunately, they are all that is left of the once-booming sugar industry in south Texas.
Duane Grant never set out to be an agricultural pioneer. He just wanted to continue the family farm and make his dad proud. Grant grew up on his father Douglas’s farm in Southern Idaho and contributed from an early age, eventually joining the operation full-time after high school.
The American industry employs 142,000 people in 22 states in mostly rural communities. Direct annual wages and benefits for the industry add up to nearly $1.2 billion – a figure that increases to $4.2 billion when economy-wide impacts are included.
The sugarcane fields of south Florida are home to more than just high-quality sugar. The tall stalks provide a habitat to countless creatures that call the region home. Farmers in the area, by nature, love the environment and the animals it sustains. The soil, sun and rain in Florida bring to life the crops they raise. Protecting that environment is just as important to sugarcane farmers as the crop that flourishes in Florida.
Farmers of the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative have taken action to help stamp out the effects of phosphorus – a naturally-occurring nutrient that is essential for plant life. But, it can be bad for our waterways by causing algal blooms which results in depleted oxygen in the water, which in turn harms plants and wildlife and can disrupt the ecosystem.
Faced with the volatility of the world market, America’s no-cost sugar policy helps level the playing field for our farmers and secures a stable supply of high-quality sugar for food manufacturers and consumers. We will continue to call on Congress to seek the elimination of all foreign sugar subsidies by passing Congressman Yoho’s Zero-for-Zero legislation.
The chairman of the House subcommittee with jurisdiction over farm commodity programs said yesterday that the unique perspectives and bipartisanship of his panel help it function well for U.S. farmers and ranchers. “The demographic and geographic diversity inside the House Agriculture Committee make it special,” Congressman Filemon Vela (D-TX) said at yesterday’s International Sweetener Symposium.
After more than a decade of transition, Europe’s sugar policy reform is finally complete, and it is transferring $2.5 billion a year in wealth from farmers and EU taxpayers to food processors, with no discernible benefit to grocery shoppers.
Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC) predicted significant turnover during the 2020 congressional election, and he encouraged agriculture to use the opportunity to work together to educate new lawmakers about the industry’s importance to America’s future.
America’s farmers and ranchers were blessed during the last Farm Bill debate to be represented by Congressional leaders who worked well together and were determined to pass a farm bill on time and get it signed into law. Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Mike Conaway (R-TX) were emblematic of how much Congress can achieve when people come together for a common cause.
Hudson, who co-chairs the Agriculture and Rural America Task Force, said America’s sugar industry supports thousands of U.S. farmers, thousands of U.S. workers, and billions in goods and services to the U.S. economy. So, supporting a strong U.S. sugar policy was an easy decision for him in the last Farm Bill.
The average rate of return for U.S. farmers is 1.3 percent this year, marking the fifth straight year of returns below 2 percent, Dr. John Newton, the chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), said today at the International Sweetener Symposium.
Congressman Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (PA), the second highest ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, kicked off the 2019 International Sweetener Symposium this morning by telling sugar producers that his vision for the Committee’s future is to “achieve a robust rural economy.”
The world sugar market, which has been battered by low prices, may soon get a reprieve, according to the head of the International Sugar Organization. Jose Orive, the group’s executive director, addressed the International Sweetener Symposium today and said, “World sugar prices have hit bottom, and signs are pointing to a recovery.”
India has a massive sugar problem. It will have 17-million-metric-tons more sugar than what it consumes this year, according to a recent USDA report. USDA notes the 17 million tons is more than double India’s minimum annual stock requirements. And India’s sugar mills are finding it difficult to sell this surplus sugar at a profit.
This week marks 13 years since the EU first began tearing down its sugar program after the World Trade Organization found it to be in violation of its international trade commitments. Since that time, Europe’s sugar industry has faced an uncertain future – 83 sugar mills closed and 120,000 jobs were lost – and subsidies remain prevalent as prices plummet below the cost of production.
India’s latest export subsidy scheme blatantly flouts international trade rules, and it’s been receiving lots of attention lately. Australia, Brazil, and Guatemala have all recently initiated formal proceedings against India under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism. Leaders from Alvean, the world’s biggest sugar trader, singled out Indian subsidies for suppressing global prices. And…
The U.S. sugar industry has publicly endorsed a concept introduced by Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL), known as the Zero-for-Zero sugar policy, which would end America’s no-cost policy in exchange for other countries eliminating their trade-distorting programs and letting a true free market form.
Farm Policy Facts debuted a new podcast called Groundwork yesterday, and two sugar farmers were the first guests on the show. John Snyder, of Wyoming, and Travis Medine, of Louisiana, discussed the importance of sugar farming in rural communities with Groundwork host Tom Sell.
As 2018 came to a close, the USDA published a report about the global sugar market. It noted that the world’s dominant sugar producer (and subsidizer) Brazil was decreasing production because of “unfavorable weather and more sugarcane being diverted towards ethanol,” where prices are stronger.
Today might be April Fool’s Day, but it’s no joke that federal sugar policy once again cost taxpayers $0 last year. Even better, the USDA predicts sugar policy will continue to operate at zero cost for the next 10 years. That means that federal sugar policy cost taxpayers absolutely nothing in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Protecting a no-cost program that ensures a sustainable supply of sugar and supports 142,000 American jobs is a no-brainer. Thank you to the sugar farmers who recently made their voices heard by taking to the halls of Congress and educating lawmakers about the importance of U.S. sugar policy.
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.
For most of the farmers, it’s their first trip back to the Capitol since the Farm Bill was approved, and given the bill’s overwhelming support, there will be many members to thank. There will also be a lot of new members to educate about the importance of maintaining the no-cost sugar policy in the face of a struggling rural economy.
From record product launches to multimillion-dollar expansions, what a sweet year it was for candy manufacturers. As consumers’ demand for candy products continues to surge, America’s confectioners are gladly taking advantage of this growing market. And America’s 142,000 sugar farmers and workers are thankful to be a part of their success story.
The global sugar market remains in turmoil, plagued for years by a subsidy-fueled oversupply. And as foreign sugar businesses struggle to stay afloat, governments around the globe are taking action. Unfortunately for the market, the action being taken by most governments is to increase subsidies, which further depresses prices. Last week saw two governments – both big and small – intervene.
Sugar is widely considered the world’s most distorted commodity market. Global sugar prices have fluctuated more than 200 percent since 2008 alone and often fall well below the cost of producing sugar. Why? Because of the actions of a few government-dependent producers….
Members of the American Sugar Alliance (ASA) praised Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) for taking decisive action against foreign sugar subsidies with today’s reintroduction of the Zero-for-Zero sugar policy.
Brian Grunenfelder will work alongside veteran ASA Trade Adviser Don Phillips in helping analyze the complex global trade issues that impact U.S. sugar farmers and shape America’s no-cost sugar policy.
The holidays got a little happier for farmers and ranchers today as President Donald Trump officially signed the 2018 Farm Bill, and with it, extended U.S. sugar policy for another five years. Sugar producers have been vocal supporters of the new Farm Bill, which they say will help rural America cope with slumping commodity prices and extreme weather.
“I really believe in sugarbeets because they are the one crop that will always pull the farm out,” Herrera says. “It always seems to be the crop that will withstand that hail storm and provide some kind of an income.”
For far too many years, big sugar exporters around the globe have been embroiled in a subsidy arms race by one-upping each other with egregious handouts. But now, the biggest producer and a major subsidizer itself, Brazil, has had enough as prices reach ludicrously low levels.
Outsourcing U.S. sugar jobs to subsidized foreign producers was a top legislative initiative for the industry – and Big Candy was willing to claim no-cost U.S. sugar policy was causing them irreparable economic harm in order to win. It didn’t work. Confectioners lost all five congressional votes taken on sugar policy during the debate.
These are interesting times in the world sugar market as sugar stockpiles rise by nearly 20-million tonnes around the globe and prices crash to levels that cover barely half the cost of producing the crop. In short, it’s a horrible time to be in sugar.
Tearing down trade barriers and holding our trading partners accountable to their World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations top the priority list, he explained. Doud singled out China and India among the biggest subsidy abusers in agriculture and said reform is needed.
Leaders from America’s sugar industry just arrived in Michigan and will begin their annual convention this week in Traverse City. Officials from the Trump administration, members of the state’s congressional delegation and renowned market analysts are here, too.
The box John Snyder’s mother-in-law brought to his office in Worland, Wyoming had been sitting at her house for decades. He opened the old carboard top and rifled through farm records dating to 1980-81. And there, amid the stacks of paper, he found a report of the sugarbeet farm’s net income that year. He read it…
As Congress continues debate of the 2018 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently updated its backgrounder on sugar policy, which made this new observation about sugar prices around the world.
Sugar, which had become a staple of high-society diet, was in short supply. When French scientists gave Napoleon sugar made from beets, he directed farmers to plant a massive crop and provided government money to help build processing factories.
At nights, she’d gaze at the iconic Domino Sugar refinery that has long illuminated the city’s Inner Harbor. But, she never realized just how close her home was to the refinery until she came to work there decades ago.
On the eve of a pivotal vote, which could have effectively cut America’s sugar producers out of the Farm Bill, the Wall Street Journal editorialized against U.S. farmers and in favor of subsidized foreign industries.
Agriculture’s opponents were dealt a stinging defeat on the House floor today as an amendment targeting America’s sugar farmers was rejected by a whopping 141-vote margin.
This is the American dream. But the dream of workers and farmers in the sugar industry are under attack on Capitol Hill. Opponents of agriculture want to gut the no-cost U.S. sugar policy in the Farm Bill. They want to flood the market with highly-subsidized foreign sugar instead of providing a level playing field for American sugar producers.
Sugar producers, who are embroiled in a contentious Farm Bill fight, just received a ringing endorsement from CoBank, one of the largest lenders in farm country.
U.S. sugar farmers took aim at attempts to gut America’s no-cost sugar policy in a new advertising campaign today, calling the anti-farmer efforts “discriminatory,” “America-last,” and “bankruptcy” inducing.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) yesterday sent Democratic members of the House of Representatives a letter urging them to “oppose the Virginia Foxx and Danny Davis anti-sugar farmer and sugar worker amendment.”
Agricultural critics are looking to cut U.S. sugar farmers out of the Farm Bill, effectively leaving them vulnerable to a new slew of foreign trade abuses and falling prices.
Today, Michigan Sugar pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy each year. Sugar is a seasonal product with busy periods during summer and the fall baking seasons. But retailers and food-makers don’t take delivery of an entire season’s worth of sugar all at once. They expect the sugar producing industry to warehouse the product until its needed.
Sugar doesn’t come from the grocery store. It comes from American farms and American factories that support American jobs. Congress: please don’t cut America’s sugar families out of the Farm Bill.
Clewiston is proudly called America’s sweetest town. But for the families that grow sugarcane in Florida, life hasn’t been too sweet lately. They’ve felt the impact of Mexico illegally dumping highly subsidized sugar on the U.S. market, sending prices into a tailspin.
Nearly 60 banks and Certified Public Accountants sent Congress a letter opposing the Sugar Farmer Bankruptcy Bill.
Sugar prices tanked when Mexico broke U.S. trade law and flooded the market with subsidized imports years ago. While that problem has been addressed, the aftereffects are still lingering.
America has had a sugar policy in some form since the country was founded. And Louisiana was the first place where the crop was planted – tracing its roots back more than 200 years.
Sugar is widely considered the world’s most volatile commodity market because of widespread subsidization. The Rutherfords, like other American sugarbeet and sugarcane farmers, rely on a U.S. sugar policy comprised of import limits and producer loans to cope.
ASA launches new campaign to show lawmakers what’s at stake for cane and beet farmers across the country as they debate the future of sugar.
Sugar farmers from across the country descended today on Capitol Hill for two weeks of meetings with lawmakers. And their message is crystal clear: “Don’t cut my family out of the Farm Bill.”
Carolyn Cheney was a pillar in the world of agricultural policy – a testament to doing things the right way and building relationships that stand the test of time. Today, her colleagues, friends, and family laid Carolyn to rest and celebrated a cherished life and career.
All four members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees’ leadership took time to address the annual meeting of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association in D.C. – a testament to the importance of the sugar industry to our nation’s agricultural economy.
ASA released an infographic noting that sugar producers see just 2 cents from a $7.99 heart-shaped box of chocolates.
In candy-coated Washington-speak, the terms “modernize” and “reform” are synonymous with “weaken” and “eliminate.”
Sugarbeet farmers in Montana ended January on a high note with the publication of three op-eds from key leaders in the Sidney Herald this week.
When sugarbeet grower Kendall Busch learned of a scathing attack on his U.S. Senator for supporting an industry that has meant generations of reliable, good-paying, jobs in Nebraska, he was pretty upset.
Two weeks after President Trump made a bold promise to farmers to produce an on-time Farm Bill, his Department of Agriculture (USDA) took the next step and introduced a list of legislative principles to guide the upcoming debate.
Sugar producers’ biggest concerns heading into 2018 revolve around the Farm Bill and trade – specifically keeping America’s no-cost sugar policy strong.
While most folks were spending the holidays with friends and family and ringing in the New Year with confetti, foreign nations were busy doubling down on sugar subsidies.
ASA releases final installment in four-part “Sugar Shorts” video series that explains how U.S. sugar policy works.
Sugar has been called the world’s most distorted market. Our third “Sugar Shorts” video explains why.
How has the price of sugar remained so low for so long? The second video in the “Sugar Shorts” series explores the answer.
Amendments designed to gut no-cost U.S. sugar policy were rejected during the 2014 Farm Bill debate, but their backers are dusting them off for another run.
As the holiday season kicks off, Americans will be reaching for a staple in their pantries. From pumpkin pie to cookies for Santa, U.S. households have relied on domestic sugar supplies for generations.
This Halloween will be full of the same old stale rhetoric from well-heeled multinational companies that want to outsource America’s sugar production.
U.S. sugar policy is spelled out in the Farm Bill. Congress has started debate on the 2018 bill and will continue to discuss it into next year.
Farm Policy Facts, a coalition of farm organizations including ASA, spoke with sugar farmers and, today, kicks off a three-part sugar harvest series.
Attacking individual legislators is never a smart political move since the critics are lobbying those lawmakers to outsource some of our food production.
Galen Lee, President of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, discusses the non-recourse loans found in the Farm Bill in a recent Agri-Pulse piece.
Sugarcane growers across the South stepped up to help their friends and neighbors after hurricanes Irma and Harvey.
Outsourcing U.S. sugar production to subsidized foreign producers is atop Big Candy’s legislative wish list.
It boggles the mind that one of the few — if not only — government programs designed to operate at no cost continues to come under attack.
Our farmers suffer when foreign countries dump heavily subsidized surplus sugar on the world market to protect their own interests, according to Jack Roney.
Sugar producers took the time to address lawmakers during a recent Farm Bill listening session in Minnesota.
Ervin Schlemmer called on Congress to maintain U.S. sugar policy and to make research funding a priority in the news Farm Bill.
India’s latest action adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the need for stopping subsidized and dumped sugar worldwide.
With so much attention on Mexico, chances are good you lost track of all the other foreign subsidy developments around the globe. ASA didn’t.
Both letters, penned by American Sugar Alliance Chairman Jack Pettus, are included.
America’s sugar farmers and producers today informed the Department of Commerce (DOC) that they support the agreement to bring Mexico’s subsidized sugar industry into compliance with U.S. trade laws. The pledge was made after DOC tightened the agreement.
The debate over whether Mexico’s subsidized sugar industry will be held accountable for violating U.S. trade laws has been getting a lot of press coverage lately.
In 2015, the U.S. government found Mexico guilty of both dumping and subsidization. Yet Mexico is still dumping.
When does aloha mean goodbye? After Mexico broke U.S. trade laws and ran Hawaii’s century-old sugar industry into the ground.
“This is a law enforcement issue. The U.S. government ruled that Mexico broke U.S. trade law and must be held accountable.”
There are dozens of foreign producers who responsibly and fairly supplied the U.S. market for the decades before Mexico began gaming the system.
Hopefully this week’s talks will move in the right direction and towards suspension agreements that finally stop the injury caused by Mexico.
Mrs. J.A. Tiedt sat down at a table across from a high school teacher in Culver, Indiana, 75 years ago this month and became the first person in her town to receive a book of sugar ration stamps.
It was May 1942 and World War II was raging across Europe. Sugar was the first food staple rationed by the U.S. government during the war.
“We urge you to continue your strong efforts to utilize the United States’ antidumping and countervailing laws in response to the serious injury Mexico caused to U.S. sugar producers.”
DOC Announces Action to Stop Mexican Dumping of Subsidized Sugar with Duties, Unless a Deal Can Be Reached
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) yesterday announced that it would end the antidumping and countervailing duty suspension agreements in place with Mexico and impose duties on Mexican sugar beginning June 5, unless the two countries can reach an accord before then to stop Mexico’s unfair trading practices.
Josh Buettner’s piece for the Market to Market segment spotlighted Alexander & Baldwin’s decision in December to shutter the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company operation on Maui as an example of how the U.S. sugar industry is struggling in a world market that is manipulated by foreign governments.
If sugar is not profitable, farmers lose more than our farms. We lose our businesses, our investments, and our local economies.
ASA’s Jack Roney testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management that a strong sugar policy is essential in the current low-price environment.