Sugar Industry Gathers in Asheville, Calls for Level Playing Field

Leaders from the U.S. sugar industry just wrapped up another successful International Sweetener Symposium in Asheville, North Carolina. Now in its 36th year, members of Congress, administration officials, economists and other industry experts gathered at the Symposium to discuss the importance of America’s no-cost sugar policy and the challenges affecting rural America.

Ryan Weston, Chief Executive Officer of Florida Sugar Cane League and Washington representative for the Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, emphasized the critical role farming plays in the rural economy…

“Agriculture helps drive America’s economy. Unfortunately, our farmers are facing a prolonged rural recession made worse by low commodity prices, high input costs, trade disputes and the threat of subsidized foreign products. Advancing strong federal farm policies will be critical to helping rural America recover. These policies support more than just our sugar producers, they support the communities that rely on these farms to survive.”

Weston highlighted the economic security provided by America’s no-cost sugar policy…

“The U.S. sugar industry is proud to support the jobs of 142,000 hardworking men and women across 22 states. These jobs provide opportunities in both rural and urban communities where jobs might otherwise be limited. The sugar industry in the U.S. generates nearly $20 billion in total economic activity each year. We are thankful that President Trump and Congress helped support this legacy of good-paying American jobs by passing and signing into law a 2018 Farm Bill that protects U.S. sugar policy and gives our industry certainty for the future.”

Weston pointed to the ongoing turmoil in the global sugar markets as evidence of the necessity of a strong U.S. sugar policy…

“Billions of dollars in foreign subsidies have made sugar the world’s most distorted commodity market. These subsidies have generated an influx of surplus sugar that has pushed prices well below average production costs, harming sugar farmers across the globe. Industry experts at the Symposium named Brazil, India, Thailand and Europe as being some of the worst offenders.”

The U.S. sugar industry continues to call for the establishment of a level playing field for U.S. farmers with the passage of Congressman Ted Yoho’s Zero-for-Zero resolution…

“America’s sugar producers are among the most efficient in the world. But farmers in Florida or Minnesota or any of the other cane and beet states cannot compete against the treasuries of foreign nations. Until Congress calls a cease-fire on global sugar subsidies by passing the Zero-for-Zero sugar policy, we will continue to advocate for the no-cost sugar policy that protects America’s sugar farmers and sugar factory workers.”