THE SUGAR BEAT
“I really believe in sugarbeets because they are the one crop that will always pull the farm out,” Herrera says. “It always seems to be the crop that will withstand that hail storm and provide some kind of an income.”
For far too many years, big sugar exporters around the globe have been embroiled in a subsidy arms race by one-upping each other with egregious handouts. But now, the biggest producer and a major subsidizer itself, Brazil, has had enough as prices reach ludicrously low levels.
Outsourcing U.S. sugar jobs to subsidized foreign producers was a top legislative initiative for the industry – and Big Candy was willing to claim no-cost U.S. sugar policy was causing them irreparable economic harm in order to win. It didn’t work. Confectioners lost all five congressional votes taken on sugar policy during the debate.
These are interesting times in the world sugar market as sugar stockpiles rise by nearly 20-million tonnes around the globe and prices crash to levels that cover barely half the cost of producing the crop. In short, it’s a horrible time to be in sugar.
Snyder’s story is common among sugarbeet farmers across Wyoming and Montana. Mexico’s illegal dumping of highly subsidized sugar in 2012 and 13 hit this region hard. Beet growers here are raising the first crop since then that has the hope of a return to profitability.
Sugar, which had become a staple of high-society diet, was in short supply. When French scientists gave Napoleon sugar made from beets, he directed farmers to plant a massive crop and provided government money to help build processing factories.
At nights, she’d gaze at the iconic Domino Sugar refinery that has long illuminated the city’s Inner Harbor. But, she never realized just how close her home was to the refinery until she came to work there decades ago.
Agriculture’s opponents were dealt a stinging defeat on the House floor today as an amendment targeting America’s sugar farmers was rejected by a whopping 141-vote margin.
This is the American dream. But the dream of workers and farmers in the sugar industry are under attack on Capitol Hill. Opponents of agriculture want to gut the no-cost U.S. sugar policy in the Farm Bill. They want to flood the market with highly-subsidized foreign sugar instead of providing a level playing field for American sugar producers.
Sugar producers, who are embroiled in a contentious Farm Bill fight, just received a ringing endorsement from CoBank, one of the largest lenders in farm country.