Not a Subsidy
I read with interest Jessica Angeles’ article about the upcoming Farm Bill debate.
I too am a small-business owner in California. But unlike Ms. Angeles, I didn’t “recently learn about the U.S. sugar program.” My husband and I run a third-generation sugarbeet farm in Brawley and have first-hand knowledge of how the policy works.
Sugar is not a “subsidy program” as Ms. Angeles alleges. We get no government checks. Instead, producers receive government loans so we can pay our bills while storing inventory until buyers need it. Once sugar is delivered and payment is received, loans are repaid with interest, which is why U.S. sugar policy runs at no taxpayer cost.
Ms. Angeles also wrongly describes U.S. sugar prices as expensive. U.S. food makers pay less for sugar today than they did in 1980. Their counterparts in Mexico and many other countries pay more.
Finally, America is not shut off from sugar imports, as she states. We are the world’s third largest sugar importer, and many imports are refined at California’s C&H Sugar refinery.
We do agree on one thing: this debate will hold ramifications for our state. If sugar policy is weakened and we are cut out of the Farm Bill, California is certain to lose farms like mine and sugar factories that provide a lot of good-paying jobs.
If Ms. Angeles is up for the trip, I’d welcome her to my farm to get the facts.