The Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee released the first draft of the House Farm Bill, which includes a continuation of no-cost sugar policy.
“Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) should be commended for putting together a strong, bipartisan bill that reduces federal spending and provides America’s farmers and ranchers with a strong foundation for the future,” noted Luther Markwart, the chairman of the American Sugar Alliance. “The bill’s extension of no-cost sugar policy is a win for taxpayers, for the 142,000 Americans employed by sugar, and for consumers who will continue enjoying ample supplies of affordable, home-grown sugar.”
The Agriculture Committee will examine the draft bill on July 11 during a process known as mark-up, where amendments will be offered and a final bill will be prepared for consideration by the full House. Multinational food manufacturers in search of cheap ingredients and even higher profits are lobbying to have an amendment introduced during mark-up to gut no-cost sugar policy, ship U.S. sugar jobs overseas, and leave America largely dependent on subsidized foreign suppliers.
But Markwart is confident that those efforts will fail. “Current sugar policy is working well, and the sugar policy votes held in June show that lawmakers want to see this no-cost success story continue,” he said.
When the Farm Bill was on the Senate floor, two anti-sugar amendments were brought forward and were rejected in bipartisan fashion. An amendment to undermine sugar policy that was offered during a House Appropriations Committee mark-up was rejected by a 2-to-1 margin.
Sugar policy has operated at no cost to taxpayers since 2002 and the USDA projects it to remain no cost through at least 2022. This policy, Markwart concluded, has kept sugar prices lower than the world average for U.S. grocery shoppers and has helped ensure sugar surpluses in the United States while other countries have wrestled with shortages.