Administration officials, economists, and sugar industry experts just wrapped up the 37th International Sweetener Symposium. This year’s event focused on how Farm Bill policies support American food security. Ryan Weston, the incoming Chairman of the American Sugar Alliance, emphasized the role sugar plays in our food supply.
“The turmoil we’ve seen on the global stage has made it more important than ever before to support the farmers who grow food right here in America,” he said. “That’s why Congress must continue to support strong farm and trade policies that reinforce our resilient sugar supply chain and ensure that Americans always have reliable access to sugar.”
Weston is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Sugar Cane League and the Washington representative for the Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers. He highlights the economic importance of this critical industry.
“America’s sugar industry supports family farms, good jobs, and communities across the country. A recent analysis from the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University found that the U.S. sugar industry supports more than 151,000 jobs and contributes more than $23 billion in annual economic impact,” Weston explained.
Weston points to the challenges affecting rural America as evidence of the necessity of a strong U.S. sugar policy.
“Unfortunately, our farmers are dealing with the one-two punch of rising input costs and shrinking profit margins. If we didn’t have a strong sugar policy, our family farms would be at a real risk of being driven out of business by a flood of heavily subsidized foreign sugar,” he said. “That would devastate rural America and leave our country dependent on unreliable foreign suppliers for sugar.”
With the Farm Bill expected to be reauthorized next year, sugar producers are advocating for sound farm safety net programs and U.S. sugar policy.
“Our sugarcane and sugarbeet farmers and workers are essential to our food security and our national security,” he said. “America’s sugar industry has always kept this essential ingredient in ready supply, thanks to the stability and certainty of a sugar policy that is designed to cost taxpayers nothing.”
The American Sugar Alliance contributed this story.
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National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.