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.
Last week, Conaway announced that he will not seek reelection in 2020, joining Roberts, who announced earlier this year that he would retire in 2020.
“America’s sugar producers owe these two men a debt of gratitude,” Ryan Weston, chairman of the American Sugar Alliance, said this week at the industry’s annual convention. “We’ve faced tremendous challenges in recent years – from low prices to bad weather and rampant foreign subsidization – but thanks to our champions on Capitol Hill, we survived and continued to thrive.”
Both Roberts and Conaway have addressed the sugar industry at past conventions, Weston explained, saying, “we always knew that these two would put American farmers first, because that’s exactly what they have always done throughout their careers.”
Conaway, who addressed the International Sweetener Symposium in 2016 and 2017, was clearly a vocal supporter of America’s no-cost sugar policy.
“Sugar policy, for me, is easy to defend,” he explained to a roomful of sugar farmers who traveled to Idaho for the convention three years ago. “It works…it works for the American taxpayer, and more importantly it works for the American sugar producer.”
Roberts addressed the International Sweetener Symposium in 2015, telling farmers that he had “no intention of reopening and re-debating the farm bill,” thus preserving U.S. sugar policy.
Weston wished both Roberts and Conaway a happy retirement from Congress and said the industry is eager to work with Members who take on their leadership roles with the Senate and House Agriculture Committees in the next Congress.
“Our challenges aren’t going away,” he concluded. “Times are very tough in rural America right now and we look forward to continuing to work closely with Senator Stabenow and Congressman Peterson along with the next generation of Republican Committee leaders.”