PRESS RELEASE: Sugar Farmers Urge Members of Congress to Support American Farmers and Workers for Food Security
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Today, Patrick Frischhertz, a sugarcane grower from Plaquemine, Louisiana testified before the House Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities, Risk Management, and Credit. He thanked Chairman Austin Scott (R-GA-8) and Ranking Member Shontel Brown (D-OH-11) for listening to the needs of American producers as they craft the next Farm Bill.
On behalf of the American Sugar Alliance, Frischhertz called on lawmakers to ensure “Title I sugar policy…provide[s] an adequate economic safety net for American sugarcane and sugarbeet farmers.” Without sugar policy, “we would effectively outsource our sugar supply to heavily-subsidized and unreliable foreign sugar suppliers whose environmental and labor standards simply do not measure up to our own. That would be the opposite of strengthening supply chains and contrary to providing a safety net to American producers. Under that scenario, farmers, consumers, and taxpayers would all lose.”
He reminded the subcommittee of the vital role sugar producers play in the nation’s food supply by ensuring American consumers have “a safe, high-quality, reliable, sustainably produced and affordable supply of an essential ingredient.” He also underscored the effectiveness of U.S. sugar policy that serves Americans at “no cost to the U.S. Treasury.”
Frischhertz spoke on the challenges sugar producers face from high input costs, tight margins, and crop and weather disruptions. He urged the members to examine “how the farm safety net could be updated in the next Farm Bill for all Title I commodities to better match actual operating costs for producers,” and gave sugar producers’ support for the subcommittee’s interest in developing additional risk management programs to complement crop insurance. “We are certainly receptive to new efforts to provide standing disaster coverage in ways that do not undermine crop insurance and possibly even encourage greater participation and coverage levels.”
As this subcommittee considers how to write a Farm Bill that meets the needs of our producers and the American people, Frischhertz urged lawmakers to support the 11,000 American sugarcane and sugarbeet 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.”