Twenty-two (22) members of Congress, along with Administration officials, economists, and sugar industry experts just wrapped up the 38th International Sweetener Symposium – right in time for the Farm Bill. This year the event focused on how Farm Bill policies support American food security.
Cassie Bladow, incoming Chairwoman of the American Sugar Alliance and President of the U.S. Beet Sugar Association, shared with us her biggest takeaways from this year’s meeting. Bladow says, “There is strong bipartisan support for sugar policy from leaders in Congress. They recognize the value and contributions our farmers, producers, processors, and workers provide to the American economy.”
There are more than 200 new members in Congress since the last Farm Bill. Many know very little about farm policy let alone sugar policy, but Chair Bladow is optimistic.
“We have been making the point to members of Congress that Americans benefit from having domestic sugar production – and we are seeing that message really resonate with members across the aisle,” Bladow says. “In addition, organizations across American agriculture, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union, agree we need to pass the Farm Bill with sugar policy intact.”
Chair Bladow blasted opposition to sugar policy as short sighted; “Gutting sugar policy would lead to a dependence on unreliable foreign suppliers – which in turn would cost us American jobs, farms, and domestic food security for this essential ingredient. It also hurts sugar-using companies who depend on a strong domestic industry to provide just-in-time delivery throughout the year. Nobody wins if sugar policy is weakened.”
With the Farm Bill expected to be reauthorized later this year, sugar producers are advocating for sound farm safety net programs and U.S. sugar policy.
Bladow says, “America’s sugar industry keeps this essential ingredient in ready supply, thanks to sugar policy which operates at no cost to taxpayers. Sugar producers are an important economic engine for rural and urban communities – we support 151,000 jobs and contribute over $23 billion to the economy. We are confident that a Farm Bill that ensures Americans have a strong domestic food supply chain includes a robust sugar policy. This supports the needs of American family farmers and workers.”
Learn more at sugaralliance.org.