From the International Sweetener Symposium:
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho—Calling Tom Vilsack “one of the finest secretaries that agriculture has ever had,” American Sugar Alliance chairman Luther Markwart paid special tribute yesterday to the current leadership at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“Secretary Vilsack has been very good to our industry and has always been thoughtful,” he explained at the International Sweetener Symposium. “Over the past eight years, his team has implemented two farm bills, worked to build good trade deals for agriculture, and maintained an open-door policy for producers through it all.”
Markwart made the remarks while introducing Alexis Taylor, USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, who said that the department has worked tirelessly during the past two terms to “serve as a partner to rural America.”
Taylor described a number of the current administration’s agricultural achievements, including opening new markets for U.S. goods, expanding farmers’ and ranchers’ access to capital, empowering new and beginning farmers, investing in research to maximize efficiency, improving crop insurance coverage, advancing conservation initiatives, and promoting biofuels.
“Partnering with [sugar producers] to overcome challenges and thrive in a complex environment has been the objective of this administration, and certainly an objective that I have stressed across my mission area,” she said.
Taylor explained that the USDA has worked diligently to maintain a robust sugar supply, operate U.S. sugar policy without taxpayer cost, treat sugar fairly in international trade negotiations, and listen to concerns about unfair trading practices and subsidies abroad.
In fact, Taylor mentioned a study released at yesterday’s Symposium sessions about India’s $1.7 billion a year in government support, noting that the USDA was monitoring sugar subsidies and market developments in India and Thailand.
Looking forward, Taylor encouraged sugar producers to “think about how current policies address your needs and whether that is what you will need in the future.”
For more information, visit www.sugaralliance.org
Symposium audio files can be downloaded at www.ASAradio.org