Today, the American Bakers Association (ABA) strongly urged the U.S. Senate to vote in favor of an amendment to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, or the Senate Farm Bill, reforming the current U.S. Sugar Program. “The current sugar program costs consumers as much as $3.5 billion a year,” said ABA President and CEO Robb MacKie, in a letter to the Senate. “With today’s anemic job growth, it is unconscionable that Congress would continue to support a program that has caused the loss of over 127,000 jobs between 1997 and 2010,” he continued.
“The sugar program has been a windfall program for sugar growers,” added Cory Martin, ABA Director of Government Relations. “While bakers have been paying record-high prices for U.S. sugar, growers have been enjoying a program that subsidizes their industry with billions of dollars each year.”
“This year alone, the American tax payer is set to get stuck with a $100 million bill due to the program’s Feedstock Flexibility Program that forces the USDA to buy up any surplus in domestically-produced sugar and sell it to ethanol producers at a severe loss,” continued Martin, “yet, it is claimed that the sugar program operates at zero net cost.”
“Additionally, according to the Canadian Government, bakers could save 30 to 40 percent on sugar cost by relocating production up north. In fact, Canada developed a marketing brochure urging U.S. food producers to move their production facilities to Canada in order to gain access to the world sugar market,” said Martin.
The Senate is set to begin floor deliberations of the 2013 Farm Bill this week.
Click here to view a copy of the key vote letter that ABA sent to the Senate.