Sugar farmers from coast to coast are in Washington, DC, this week and next to meet with hundreds of lawmakers and thank them for delivering a strong sugar policy in the recently-passed Farm Bill.
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.
So, what will be the main messages communicated? Look no further than sugar farmers’ and workers’ own words, as quoted on the materials they’ll be handing out.
“Farmers own most of the country’s sugar companies. We’ve literally bet the farm that our businesses will succeed, so we are always striving to improve.”
-Dan Younggren, Hallock, Minnesota
“We’ve grown sugar in Louisiana for more than 250 years. And if we didn’t raise sugar, the only thing we’d grow around here is the unemployment line. It’s sad that some people want to end that history and outsource U.S. sugar production to subsidized foreign industries that use child labor and don’t care about the environment.”
-Pete DuFresne, Paulina, Louisiana
“The Domino Sugar Yonkers refinery has operated continuously in this community since 1938. The refinery is a source of pride that contributes millions to the local economy and provides good-paying jobs.”
-Matt Shue, Yonkers, New York
“It’s getting harder to make a living in sugar. Production costs keep going up, but sugar prices have barely budged in decades. Hawaii recently stopped growing sugar because of this economic squeeze, and I fear Texas won’t be far behind if U.S. sugar policy is weakened.”
-Leonard Simmons, San Benito, Texas
“If sugar is not profitable, farmers lose more than our farms. We lose our businesses, our investments, and our local communities. A strong no-cost sugar policy supports our families and our communities.”
-Galen Lee, New Plymouth, Idaho
“We need the security the Farm Bill offers to keep my family growing for another generation. If my kids choose to farm, I want there to be a business for them to continue that opportunity.”
-Rita Herford, Minden City, Michigan
If there’s no sugar policy, we have “no land, no future, no job, no home.”
IAM Florida Sugar Workers Union
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.