Colorado, Montana Sugarbeet Farmers Urge Congress to Support Sugar Policy

With the next Farm Bill on the horizon, two sugarbeet farmers recently took to the pages of their homestate papers to praise U.S. sugar policy for keeping our food supply secure and supporting their family farms. U.S. sugar policy must be preserved and strengthened in the next Farm Bill.

Colorado farmer Paul Schlagel grows sugarbeets in Boulder County for Western Sugar Cooperative. His family farm has been in operation for more than 100 years. Paul wrote in his op-ed for the Colorado Springs Gazette that the economic pressures and significant cost increases facing farmers requires a stronger farm safety net.

“It is more important than ever that we have the strongest safety net possible to sustain current [sugar] production levels and maintain our national food security,” Paul wrote. “Without a strong safety net, family farms like mine would be driven out of business and countless jobs would be eliminated.”

In Montana, farmer Shane Strecker, who also grows sugarbeets for Western Sugar Cooperative, pushed back against farm policy critics in the Billings Gazette. Shane pointed to the recent closure of Sidney Sugars in Montana and the resulting economic and job losses as a warning sign of what could happen if U.S. sugar policy were weakened.

“Letting farms like mine fail by eliminating a policy that costs taxpayers nothing would mean fewer American jobs and more food grown in [sugar] subsidizing countries like Brazil and India. That’s not a risk I’m willing to take, and I bet most Americans aren’t either,” Shane wrote.

Sugar crop farmers like Paul and Shane are critical to maintaining a strong and resilient domestic supply of an essential food ingredient. We are grateful for Congress’ continued bipartisan and bicameral support of the no-cost sugar policy that allows these farmers to survive.