(Chuck Muth) – The 37th International Sweetener Symposium recently concluded in Colorado and #1 topic of discussion was the upcoming battle in Congress over renewal of the Farm Bill.
Always a contentious topic, the 2023 bill adds to the mix serious doubts as to which party will control the House and the Senate after November’s elections, in addition to expectations that as many as half the members of the agriculture committees will be new to the process.
Positioning on the bill has already begun in earnest, but the top thing that both parties need to remember is that food security is national security. A successful Farm Bill must protect the farm and trade policies that keep farmers and food production here in America.
For their part, U.S. sugar farmers are more concerned with rising production costs and retaining the current U.S. sugar policy that discourages sugar imports from countries that heavily subsidize their home-grown markets.
“Unfortunately, our farmers are dealing with the one-two punch of rising input costs and shrinking profit margins,” noted Ryan Weston, the incoming Chairman of the American Sugar Alliance (ASA), at the Symposium.
“If we didn’t have a strong sugar policy, our family farms would be at a real risk of being driven out of business by a flood of heavily subsidized foreign sugar,” Weston continued. “That would devastate rural America and leave our country dependent on unreliable foreign suppliers for sugar.”
“U.S. sugar policy enables our farmers to more effectively compete against imported, heavily subsidized foreign sugar,” added Dr. Rob Johansson, Director of Economics and Policy Analysis for ASA. “And it costs taxpayers nothing. Maintaining a strong safety net in the next Farm Bill is going to be critical to our farm economy and our national food security.”
“Our sugarcane and sugarbeet farmers and workers are essential to our food security and our national security,” Weston concluded. “America’s sugar industry has always kept this essential ingredient in ready supply, thanks to the stability and certainty of a sugar policy that is designed to cost taxpayers nothing.”
Food security is national security. When something works, don’t fix it.
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-partisan grassroots advocacy organization