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U.S. Sugar Farmers only want a Level Farming Field…and Deserve It

As Congress prepares to vote on a new farm bill in Washington, lobbyist for the candy industry are pulling out all the stops in an effort to gut the current U.S. sugar policy which protects American sugar producers from unfair international competitors that “cheat” in the global marketplace.

Members should consider the following observations by Bryce Wilde who runs Anaqua Farms with his brother in Lyford, Texas…

The fact is, no year is ever a guarantee (of farming profit), and no year can be neatly plotted out in a spreadsheet. We deal with unique risks that are far different than other businesses. A disastrous freeze in 1989, for example, wiped out much of the (Rio Grande) Valley’s crop, and taught us a hard lesson on just how risky sugarcane can be.

World market prices have also long been a challenge for farmers. Foreign nations subsidize sugar to the point that it usually sells on the world market for less than the cost to make it.

America’s no-cost sugar policy helps alleviate some of the risk and provides a safety net. It ensures that subsidized imports don’t flood the market and drive us out of business. It also gives sugar producers access to loans that help us market sugar — loans that are repaid with interest. The policy is included in the Farm Bill, which Congress is currently debating.

It is critical we call on our lawmakers to keep this policy intact. We don’t want them to cut our families out of the Farm Bill. Until other nations drop their price-distorting subsidies, American farmers need a strong sugar policy to compete. It’s just that simple.

Unfortunately, some agricultural critics have a different idea. They are pushing a plan to exclude sugar producers from the loans that are available to other crops. And they want to force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to import unneeded subsidized sugar from abroad.

That plan is not “modest reform,” as they contend, but would instead eliminate my safety net.

That’s a reference to the Rep. Virginia Foxx’s proposed “Sugar Policy Modernization Act.”

Congress should scrap Congresswoman Foxx’s proposal, not current sugar policy.

TRUE reform would be to instead adopt Rep. Ted Yoho’s “Zero for Zero” resolution that stipulates the U.S. sugar program would be eliminated in return for simultaneous elimination of direct government subsidies by global competitors.

Sugar famers such as Bryce Wilde deserve a U.S. policy that puts him and America’s sugar farmers first, not global competitors who “cheat” and don’t play by the same rules.  For a market to be truly free, it must be free from foreign government subsidies.